Is Vitamin D Deficiency Driving Dementia? Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a press release from the FoodForTheBrain Foundation. Is Vitamin D Deficiency Driving Dementia? Everyone knows that vitamin D is vital for healthy bones and a stronger immune system, but could low levels be a significant driver of Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive decline? New research suggests that the levels of vitamin D commonly found in the UK are accelerating cognitive decline and increasing the risk of a dementia diagnosis and that supplementing with vitamin D, especially in the winter, can reduce future dementia risk.
Is Vitamin D Deficiency Driving Dementia?
Vitamin D deficiency is well known to increase future risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In a study in France, those with low vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/L had a nearly three-fold increased risk of Alzheimer’s . Over sixty per cent of people in the UK have lower levels than this.
Supplements also help ward off dementia, according to a large-scale study earlier this year involving over twelve thousand dementia-free 70+ year-olds. More than a third (37%) took vitamin D supplements, and those that did had a 40% lower incidence of dementia.
Professor Zahinoor Ismail of the University of Calgary and the University of Exeter, who led the research, said: “We know that vitamin D has some effects in the brain that could have implications for reducing dementia. Overall, we found evidence to suggest that earlier supplementation might be particularly beneficial before the onset of cognitive decline.”
Vitamin D expert Dr William Grant (PhD), advisor to the prevention charity foodforthebrain.org, says we’ve vastly underestimated the importance of vitamin D on the brain and how much you need.
“All the evidence regarding cardiometabolic diseases, cancer, diabetes, infectious diseases and pregnancy outcomes shows that you need a blood level of vitamin D above 75 nmol/L to be healthy, and the same is proving true for the brain. This optimal level is impossible to achieve without supplementation in the winter. I recommend every adult and teenager supplement themselves with at least 1000 to 3000iu daily from October to March, in line with a recent review by 35 vitamin D researchers. The degree of obesity, darker skin colour and living further North increases need. The UK government’s recommendation of 400iu (10 mcg) a day is not enough for optimal brain health. Supplementing 800iu (20 mcg) a day for 12 months has already improved cognitive function, but you need more than this to achieve anything close to an optimal level.” says Dr Grant.
Vitamin D Levels Test Home Kit
“If you’re not supplementing with vitamin D in the winter, then you may be heading for cognitive decline.” However, the British Nutrition Foundation says only 8% of UK adults take vitamin D in the winter.
Under the direction of Dr Grant, foodforthebrain.org has launched a research project to test blood vitamin D levels using a home test kit and cognitive function with a free online Cognitive Function Test. Having already tested over 400,000 people’s cognitive function, the aim is to measure their vitamin D levels now. This will help to establish the vitamin D level you need to stay free from dementia, says Dr Grant, who is director of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Centre in San Francisco.
If you’d like to participate in this research and discover your vitamin D level and cognitive function, visit the foodforthebrain.org/vitaminD project. The free online Cognitive Function Test also works out what is driving your future dementia risk generally (that is, other than vitamin D) and gives you advice on what to do to reduce your risk. The free test is available at foodforthebrain.org.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE FOOD FOR THE BRAIN FOUNDATION
The Food for the Brain Foundation (foodforthebrain.org) is an educational and research charity on dementia prevention. It’s a free online validated Cognitive Function Test, followed by the Dementia Risk Index questionnaire assessing eight drivers of dementia, including ‘brain fats’ and ‘low carbs & GL’, thus identifying those eating too many carbs and not enough brain fats, then advising them what to do. www.foodforthebrain.org/tests
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