Alzheimer's and Low Vitamin D

For the second time this summer, researchers have identified a promising way to fend off the development of Alzheimer's disease.

older man getting vitamin D

The latest research, published in the journal Neurology, found that older people with low vitamin D levels are much more likely to develop Alzheimer's compared to people with higher blood levels. People with lower levels of vitamin D were nearly 70 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, and those who had severe deficiency were over 120 percent more likely to develop the disease.

The researchers involved had expected to observe some correlation between low vitamin D levels and dementia. But they admit that they were unprepared for the drastic variance they observed, which serves as a wakeup call for the millions of aging “baby boomers” who already have an elevated risk of mental illness.

We expected to find an association between low Vitamin D levels and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but the results were surprising — we actually found that the association was twice as strong as we anticipated.

Our findings are very encouraging, and even if a small number of people could benefit, this would have enormous public health implications given the devastating and costly nature of dementia.

-Dr. David Llewellyn from the University of Exeter Medical School, one of the study’s authors said.

The Vitamin D Council outlines more than 40 health conditions that modern science has identified as being associated with low vitamin D levels, which is easily correctable through increased sunlight exposure and supplementation.

Vitamin D deficiency is pandemic in the United States, but many Americans, including physicians, are not aware that they may be lacking this important nutrient. The average adult American diet only contains 150-300 IU of Vitamin D per day when the recommended amount is 600-800, and even higher levels, 1200-1500, are needed for optimal bone health. When it comes to vitamin D, you don't want to be in the "average" or "normal" range, you want to be in the "optimal" range. As the years have gone by, researchers have progressively moved the amount of Vitamin D upward and the health connections keep stacking up.

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