In fact, older adults with too little vitamin D in their bloodstream could face two times the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in their senior years.
So, as we age and consider the golden retirement years in golden sunshine, does it make sense to up the intake of the “Sunshine Vitamin”?
The research — based on more than 1,600 adults over age 65 — found the risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia increased with the severity of vitamin D deficiency.
But the findings aren’t enough to recommend seniors take vitamin D supplements to prevent mental decline.
“Clinical trials are now urgently needed in this area,” said study researcher David Llewellyn, a senior research fellow in clinical epidemiology at the University of Exeter Medical School in England.
Another expert agreed. “This shows you there is a link between vitamin D and the development of Alzheimer’s,” said Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association, one of several funding sources for the study.
“What it doesn’t show you is that [cause-and-effect] link.” Read more here at CBS News, Healthday
How much is too much when it comes to Vitamin D?
“Whether dietary changes or getting more sun exposure would help isn’t known”, Fargo said. “We don’t know if increasing vitamin D levels would decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s.”
What we do know is that Vitamin D is essential to bone health. It may also help with cell growth and control inflammation and immune functions. It can be obtained through foods high in Vitamin D, through the skin through exposure to sunlight or through vitamin supplements.
The American Heart Association has also written on links between Vitamin D deficiency and heart disease. You can read it here.
The signs of dementia become obvious when declining memory and forgetfulness interferes with daily life. This can impact eating habits, resting, and most often, taking the right medicine at the right time.
The most common form of old age dementia, known as Alzheimer’s Disease, affects some 5 million Americans, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
What are good sources of Vitamin D?
- Fatty fish (such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel)
- Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks
- Most milk in the United States is fortified with 400 IU vitamin D per quart.
It should be noted that foods made from milk, such as cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Photo Graphics from ALZ.org and CBS News story cited here.