Science and Tech


Low Vitamin D Levels Might Be Linked To Dementia

A recent study found a link between low vitamin D levels and dementia. But taking vitamin D supplements might not necessarily be a cure.
Posted at 11:08 AM, Aug 07, 2014

Experts say someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer's disease every 67 seconds. And now, a recent study suggests the disease and other forms of dementia might be linked to a vitamin D deficiency.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, followed more than 1,600 seniors over six years, after which more than 170 developed dementia and more than 100 developed Alzheimer's.

And the researchers say the risk of developing dementia increased by more than 50 percent in those with low levels of vitamin D. The risk in those with a severe vitamin D deficiency increased by 125 percent.

Now, that might lead you to assume vitamin D deficiency causes dementia. But the authors warn that might not be the case, and the answer might not be as simple as taking vitamin D supplements.

The researchers say future studies should look at whether vitamin D sources, including sunlight, supplements and food, can lead to a lower risk for dementia.

According to the BBC, this is not the first study suggesting this link, but the researchers note it is the largest with stronger results than they were expecting.

Researchers are really trying to tackle the question of what causes dementia, and if you're a regular consumer of health news, you're probably remembering more than a few recent headlines.

An earlier study says incorporating a combination of exercise, healthy eating and brain-stimulating activities might contribute to a lower risk of memory loss. (Video via NBC)

And another study suggests a link between depression and dementia. 

Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., with more than 5 million individuals currently living with the disease. (Video via Alzheimer's Association)

The researchers say they still don't know why dementia and vitamin D deficiency might be linked, adding there could be a third contributing factor they haven't looked into. In any case, getting enough vitamin D — which you can get from eggs, milk and fatty fish — can't be a bad thing. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.