Low levels of vitamin D in the blood stream have been linked to a variety of chronic health problems including arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, infection, kidney disease, osteoporosis, stroke and cancer. Now add dementia to that list.
A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society followed almost 3,000 older adults for four years. They were tested for cognitive function at the beginning and end of the study. Vitamin D levels were also measured.
The investigators found an association between low vitamin D levels and a drop in cognitive performance. The scientists caution that their study does not prove cause and effect. To do that will require some different types of studies.
The value of vitamin D is becoming so clear, however, that it makes sense to have levels assessed and take steps to bring them into a normal range if they are low. For many older people, sun exposure is impractical or may be too hazardous given pre-existing skin conditions. In that case, the answer may lie in supplements.
Those who would like to learn more about vitamin D and how to assess blood levels may be interested in our 8-page Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency. The guide also describes what sorts of supplements may be useful.