Dementia affects more than 55 million people worldwide, with 10 million additions each year. It’s one of the most notorious diseases known for rendering (mostly) older people disabled, impairing cognitive and physical function.
While dementia may seem inevitable, new research from the University of South Australia shows promise through prevention: vitamin D.
The evidence reveals a strong correlation between dementia and low levels of vitamin D. More specifically, it showed a “causal effect” of vitamin D deficiency with dementia.
The study noted that low levels of vitamin D were associated with less brain volume and increased risk of developing dementia, as well as having a stroke. It’s estimated that as much as 17% of dementia cases could be prevented by establishing higher (i.e., normal) vitamin D levels, as many people are vitamin D deficient.
Senior Investigator and Director of UniSA’s Australian Centre for Precision Health, Professor Elina Hyppönen calls the findings “important for the prevention of dementia.” She emphasizes the need to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D.
“Vitamin D is a hormone precursor that is increasingly recognized for widespread effects, including on brain health, but until now, it has been very difficult to examine what would happen if we were able to prevent vitamin D deficiency,” she added.
It’s essential to check your vitamin D levels regularly and ensure you’re getting enough. Professor Hyppönen acknowledges the importance of supplementation for anyone who’s not getting enough vitamin D from sunshine and diet alone.
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