Scientists have been very interested in finding ways to ward off cognitive decline and the latest studies now indicate that it could be as simple as spending more time in the sun.
Indeed, the new studies suggest that getting more vitamin D is all it takes.
The study comes out of the University of California at Davis as well as some efforts from Rutgers University.
Researcher Joshua Miller, of Rutgers, notes, “This work, and that of others, suggests that there is enough evidence to recommend that people in their 60s and older discuss taking a daily vitamin D supplement with their physicians. Even if doing so proves to not be effective, there’s still very low health risk to doing it.”
Miller comments that insufficient vitamin D has, in fact, been shown to be linked to significantly faster decline in both episodic memory and executive function. This is the difference between remembering isolated moments and organizational thought.
Furthermore, UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease director Charles DeCarli, notes, “We expected to see declines in individuals with low vitamin D status. What was unexpected was how profoundly and rapidly [low vitamin D] impacts cognition.”
DeCarli goes on to say, “This is a vitamin deficiency that could easily be treated and that has other health consequences. We need to start talking about it.”
Finally, the researchers conclude, “Independent of race or ethnicity, baseline cognitive ability, and a host of other risk factors, VitD insufficiency was associated with significantly faster declines in both episodic memory and executive function performance, which may correspond to elevated risk for incident AD [Alzheimer disease] dementia.”
The study has been published in the scientific journal JAMA Neurology.