|VITAMIN D MAY PREVENT DEMENTIA|
In yet another health area for the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D, a new study suggests that it may help to stave off the mental decline that accompanies old age. Publishing in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Geriatric Psychology and Neurology, researchers from the Peninsula Medical School, the University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan, have for the first time identified a relationship between Vitamin D and cognitive impairment in a large-scale study of older people. This is important due to the connection between cognitive function and dementia. People who have impaired cognitive function are more likely to develop dementia.
The study was based on data on almost 2000 adults aged 65 and over who participated in the Health Survey for England in 2000 and whose levels of cognitive function were assessed. It found that as levels of Vitamin D went down, levels of cognitive impairment went up. Compared to those with higher levels of Vitamin D, those with the lowest levels were more than twice as likely to be cognitively impaired.
Dr. Iain Lang from the Peninsula Medical School, who worked on the study, commented: "This is the first large-scale study to identify a relationship between Vitamin D and cognitive impairment in later life. Dementia is a growing problem for health services everywhere, and people who have cognitive impairment are at higher risk of going on to develop dementia.
One possible reason for this process is that the capacity of the skin to absorb Vitamin D from sunlight decreases as the body ages, so they are more reliant on obtaining Vitamin D from other sources.
As Vitamin D is easy to test accurately, and cheap to supplement if necessary, it would be a great therapeutic without the cost and risk or prescription drugs.
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