Low Levels of Vitamin D May Increase Your Risk for Dementia
According to recent research on the topic, people with low levels of vitamin D are at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia later in life. In fact, low vitamin D levels may more than double the risk of developing these diseases in both men and women. Given the numerous other risks already associated with low levels of vitamin D, it is now more important than ever to regularly monitor your blood levels.
The Link Between Low Vitamin D and Dementia
The results of this study, recently published in the journal Neurology, were based on data collected from the Cardiovascular Health Study between 1992 and 1993, which included the test results of vitamin D blood levels, and compared to test results from the same population in 1999. Researchers followed a cohort of 1,658 elderly adults who were free from dementia, cardiovascular disease, and stroke at baseline. By 1999, the researchers found that 171 of the participants developed all-cause dementia, which included 102 cases of Alzheimer’s disease.
By comparing these results to those of the general population, the researchers found a strong association between low vitamin D concentrations and the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. These results were true for both men and women, and indicated a 125 percent increased risk for those people with low levels of vitamin D, more than double the risk for people with normal levels of vitamin D.
What Should You Do?
The most obvious answer is to maintain normal levels of vitamin D. Not only does vitamin D possibly protect against dementia, but it has been associated with vision troubles, hypertension, and a number of other chronic diseases. In light of all these risks, it is important to monitor your vitamin D levels regularly, and to supplement your vitamin D consumption as necessary to stay within the ideal range. Past research suggests that vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL are associated with a significantly increased risk of disease and mortality, but other studies have recommended maintaining even higher levels of vitamin D (50 to 70 ng/mL) to provide the optimal level of protection. It is always wise to talk to your physician for specific advice, but generally speaking, it is in your best interests to monitor your levels of vitamin D, and supplement them as necessary.
Derek is a technical writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the health care field, having first earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Delaware. He is a contributing author on a number of textbooks in the medical field, ran a nuclear cardiology licensing course, and has written a variety of other pieces from online training courses to medical software manuals. Derek pursues his personal interest in health and wellness by playing multiple sports and running marathons. An insatiable traveler, he spent 16 months working and living abroad while traveling through South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.