The study was conducted on 380 people where researchers trailed for an average of five years, and they observed that those with dementia had the lowest levels of vitamin D. Almost half of the conductees were cognitively normal during the initial process of the study, while 33 percent contained a mild cognitive impairment and 17.5 percent had dementia. Approximately 26 percent of these patients were found to be deficient in vitamin D. The remaining 35 percent were not attaining the required levels but were not considered deficient.
“It is vague what vitamin D might be doing,” informed study author Joshua Miller, chair of the department of nutritional sciences at Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences in New Brunswick, N.J.
“It is well proven that vitamin D gets into all cells of the body, which comprises the brain as well,” Miller said. Therefore, it is quite possible that vitamin D shelters the brain from establishing the plaques and tangles that are related with Alzheimer’s disease.
But it is sad to inform that there is a vast majority of people aged over 75 in the United States are vitamin D-deficient, he noted.
Patients having a deficient or insufficient vitamin D levels possessed more cognitive issues during the follow-up period than those whose levels were adequate. A key problem among these people were with episodic memory and executive function performance.
Episodic memory is the capacity to recollect personal life experiences, while executive functions include decision-making abilities and judgment.
According to Dr. Miller and his team, low vitamin D levels may also intensify the danger of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Dr. Sam Gandy, the director of the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, stated that the levels of Vitamin D must be checked at least once in people aged 55 and older, and should be a part of any assessment of mental deficiency.
Although Dr. Gandy was not involved with the study, he believes that older people should be taking vitamin D supplements.
“I would stop short of prescribing general use of supplements by everyone,” he said. “But most assuredly, everyone should have their levels checked during some part in their midlife or if there is any mental issue.
This study was published Sept. 14 in the journal JAMA Neurology.