Scientists from Wageningen University & Research and elsewhere found that vitamin D deficiency is linked to Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.
Dementia is not a specific disease but is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with everyday activities.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.
It is a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment.
Vascular dementia is a general term describing problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory, and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to your brain.
People can develop vascular dementia after a stroke blocks an artery in the brain, but strokes don’t always cause vascular dementia.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
At the same time, this evidence is limited specifically for vascular dementia, and findings regarding other subtypes of dementia are even more limited.
In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the association of vitamin D levels in the body with dementia subtypes in older people.
They analyzed data from 1,758 people at an outpatient memory clinic in The Netherlands. Cognitive disorders were diagnosed by a team according to international clinical standards.
At each first visit the participants’ vitamin D levels were measured.
The researchers found reduced vitamin D levels were found in people with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia compared to people without dementia.
They did not find differences in vitamin D levels of mild cognitive impairment or other dementia patients compared to people without dementia.
Based on the findings, the team concludes that there are much lower vitamin D levels in both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia compared to people without dementia.
But there are no strong differences between MCI and Lewy body and mixed dementia subtypes in older people.
The research was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and conducted by André Janse et al.
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