A new report from the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of California suggests that there could be a link between vitamin D deficiencies and the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Deficits in the so-called sunshine vitamin were particularly linked with memory loss in those over the age of 60, although experts do suggest that there is a very simple solution to the problem.
Simply consuming a daily vitamin supplement, with an approximate value of £5 per tablet, can overcome this vitamin gulf, and ensure that the statistical chances of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s is seriously diminished.
Researchers participating in the study were able to prove that the widely available vitamin possesses healing properties related to mental state.
This would seem to suggest that keeping vitamin D levels topped up should be a priority for people, considering the benefits of the sunshine vitamin that are already common medical knowledge.
Vitamin D is known to play a key role in keeping bones healthy and is absorbed into the body from exposure to sunshine and eating diets rich in egg yolks, cheese and fish oil.
But the revelation that it can also have a seriously positive impact on the way that the brain functions is a major breakthrough in understanding.
Results of studies on 382 people carried out by the University of California found that those aged between 60 and 19 with vitamin D deficiencies were the most prone to dementia.
Mental ability was tested once a year for an average of five years as part of the research. Participants included people with normal cognition, mild cognitive loss and dementia.
Speaking about the significance of these results Joshua Miller, professor of nutritional sciences at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences in New Jersey, indicated that the data gleaned by researchers was actually rather clear-cut.
“There were some people in the study who had low vitamin D who didn’t decline at all and some people with adequate vitamin D who declined quickly. But on average, people with low vitamin D declined two to three times as fast as those with adequate vitamin D,” Miller explained.
Professor Christian Holscher, a dementia researcher at Lancaster University, concurred, stated: “The study clearly shows vitamin D deficiency puts people at risk and accelerates the development of dementia.”
It is notable that people in the UK are particularly vulnerable to low vitamin D levels, as a result of the relatively paltry levels of sunshine to which we are collectively exposed.
Although documenting the true level of vitamin D deficiency in the UK is extremely difficult, it has been estimated by scientists that around 20 per cent of adults and 15 per cent of children in the UK may currently have low vitamin D levels.
Recent evidence has indicated that a new case of dementia is diagnosed every three minutes in the UK, and it is predicted that by 2050 more than 2 million people in the country will be suffering with that debilitating mental condition.
Those wishing to peruse the full study can access it in the journal Neurology.