Millions of cases of dementia could be prevented in the future if everyone had an adequate intake of vitamin D. A first world study on the subject by the University of South Australia finds a direct link and therefore also an important prevention approach.
Dementia is a chronic or progressive syndrome that leads to the deterioration of cognitive function, thinking and memory with age. More than 55 million people worldwide suffer from dementia, with 10 million new cases diagnosed each year.1 The disease is considered to be one of the most common causes of death in general. Getting enough vitamin D could be the key to preventing most future cases.
How Low Vitamin D Levels Affect Brain Health
The genetic study, supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, analyzed data from 294,514 participants in the UK biobank and examined the impact of low vitamin D levels (below 25 nmol / L) on the risk of dementia and stroke. It has been shown that chronic vitamin D deficiency is not only associated with lower brain volume: the researchers also used genetic analyzes to find a causal connection between a deficiency in the sunshine vitamin and the development of dementia or stroke. The full study report was recently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.2
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Adequate vitamin D intake could prevent 17% of all cases of dementia in the UK
For lead researcher, Prof. Elina Hyppönen, the results show how important vitamin D is in the prevention of dementia. And that there is therefore an absolute need to remedy the deficiency that still prevails in many areas of the world. “Indeed, we have observed in this British population that up to 17% of dementia cases could have been avoided if vitamin D levels had been brought to a normal range,” the scientist said in a university statement.3
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The role of vitamin D in health is becoming increasingly clear
Hyppönen points out how important vitamin D is for mental and physical health. “Vitamin D is a precursor hormone that is increasingly recognized for its far-reaching effects, including on brain health.” Using an extensive genetic analysis, she and her team were able to demonstrate once again that something inexpensive and readily available like a simple vitamin Preparation D has a huge impact on world health.
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A discovery of great importance
“Dementia is a progressive and debilitating disease that can be devastating for both individuals and families,” concludes prof. Hyppönen. “So we have to make sure that no one in the world suffers from a severe vitamin D deficiency.” This is especially true for the population who do not get enough sun to produce the vitamin in the body itself. If successful, it could improve the health and well-being of countless people.