Dec 1, 2012

Higher Vitamin D Intake Associated with Lower Risk of Alzheimer's

Higher vitamin D dietary intake is associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Two new research studies indicate that women with low levels of vitamin D are at a greater risk for Alzheimer's and cognitive decline.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

We have a long list of articles on the ARR describing how bright light improved Dotty's mood and demeanor.

Early on in my caregiving effort I noticed that Dotty tended to get dull and moody around 4 o'clock in the afternoon. This often led to challenging and negative behavior.

Once I started taking Dotty out into the bright light this phenomena disappeared. Or lets say, it was eradicated. Needless to say, the eradication of this dullness and negative behavior improved both of our lives.

Two new research studies indicate that women with low levels of vitamin D are at a greater risk for Alzheimer's and cognitive decline.

One study based its findings on a population of 6,257 women. The other studied 498 women.

One of the findings that really stood out showed that women who had high weekly intakes of vitamin D showed no dementia at all.

Alzheimer's and dementia patients often have problems eating or poor diets. So it is unlikely that they are getting enough vitamin D from their diet. Studies on Alzheimer's patients show that they have very low levels of vitamin D2.

Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the "sun vitamin". One big advantage we have is we live in Florida (closer to the Equator) so we have the sun high in the sky all year round. We have many sunny days, so this made it easier for me to get Dotty into the bright light.

Studies indicate that more than half of persons over 60 live with low levels of vitamin D. This happens because when we age we have more difficulty absorbing vitamin D from foods and supplements. So the sun can be a difference maker, or a potential solution to the problem.

At age 80 there is about a one in three chance of suffering from some type of dementia. About 24 percent of the readers of the ARR are over 55. So you might want to start thinking about increasing your level of vitamin D.

How Bright Light and Our Daily Routine Improved Dotty's Behavior and Vision

You can read a short synopsis of the two research studies I mentioned below.

In the meantime, I think I'll go take a ten minute walk out in the sun and get my daily injection of vitamin D.

Vitamin D Tied to Women’s Cognitive Performance

Two new studies appearing in the Journals of Gerontology show that vitamin D may be a vital component for the cognitive health of women as they age.

Search the Alzheimer's Reading Room Knowledge Base for Answers to Your Questions, and Solutions to Problems

Higher vitamin D dietary intake is associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to research conducted by a team led by Cedric Annweiler, MD, PhD, at the Angers University Hospital in France.

Similarly, investigators led by Yelena Slinin, MD, MS, at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis found that low vitamin D levels among older women are associated with higher odds of global cognitive impairment and a higher risk of global cognitive decline.

Slinin’s group based its analysis on 6,257 community-dwelling older women who had vitamin D levels measured during the Study of Osteopathic Fractures and whose cognitive function was tested by the Mini-Mental State Examination and/or Trail Making Test Part B.

Very low levels of vitamin D (less than 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood serum) among older women were associated with higher odds of global cognitive impairment at baseline, and low vitamin D levels (less than 20 nanograms per milliliter) among cognitively-impaired women were associated with a higher risk of incident global cognitive decline, as measured by performance on the Mini-Mental State Examination.

Annweieler’s team’s findings were based on data from 498 community-dwelling women who participated in the Toulouse cohort of the Epidemiology of Osteoporosis study.

Among this population, women who developed Alzheimer’s disease had lower baseline vitamin D intakes (an average of 50.3 micrograms per week) than those who developed other dementias (an average of 63.6 micrograms per week) or no dementia at all (an average of 59.0 micrograms per week).

These reports follow an article published in the Journals of Gerontology Series A earlier this year that found that both men and women who don’t get enough vitamin D — either from diet, supplements, or sun exposure — may be at increased risk of developing mobility limitations and disability.

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is  the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,400+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public.

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Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 5,000 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room