Vitamin D could reduce dementia risk, study finds

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In a study from the University of Calgary and elsewhere, scientists found that taking vitamin D supplements may help ward off dementia.

Dementia is a group of conditions characterized by impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgment.

Symptoms include forgetfulness, limited social skills, and thinking abilities so impaired that it interferes with daily functioning.

Vitamin D is both a nutrient we eat and a hormone our bodies make.

It is a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bone.

Also, laboratory studies show that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation.

Previous research has found an association between vitamin D deficiency with a higher risk of dementia, but the role of supplementation is unclear.

In the current study, researchers examined the associations between vitamin D supplementation and dementia risk.

They used data from 12,388 adults without dementia from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center.

The researchers showed that vitamin D supplementation was linked to much longer dementia-free survival and lower dementia risk than no supplementation.

People with vitamin D supplementation had a 40% lower dementia risk versus no exposure.

The effect of vitamin D on dementia risk was strongly different across sex, cognitive status, and APOE ε4 status (a genetic risk factor of dementia).

Vitamin D effects were much greater in women versus men and in normal cognition versus mild cognitive impairment.

Vitamin D effects were much greater in people who had no apolipoprotein E ε4 versus people with the genetic risk factor.

Based on the findings, the team concludes that vitamin D may be a possible way to dementia prevention.

The study was conducted by Professor Zahinoor Ismail et al and published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.

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