Vitamin D and Alzheimer's Disease
Studies have shown that individuals whom are Vitamin D deficient are at an increased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
Scientists believe that the majority of seniors are deficient in Vitamin D because the body produces less as we age.
Vitamin D & The Brain
Vitamin D has long been known for its importance in maintaining healthy bones. More recently, researchers have found evidence linking Vitamin D to a wide range of brain functions including learning and memory.
Vitamin D activates nerves in the brain and spine which are involved with neurotransmitter creation and nerve growth. Researchers also believe that Vitamin D protects brain neurons and reduces inflammation; inflammation is a common characteristic of Alzheimer's.
Vitamin D is one of the most important supplements, especially for individuals over the age of 65. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to serious health issues and the majority of individuals over the age of 65 are believed to be Vitamin D deficient due to a unique reason discussed below.
Vitamin D poses a unique deficiency risk, because as we age our bodies become less and less efficient at producing Vitamin D. Individuals over the age of 70, produce 70 percent less Vitamin D than an individual in their 20s.
Estimates place the percentage of seniors who are Vitamin D deficient at 95 percent. Individuals in climates which receive less daylight, or individuals who do not go outside often, are at an even higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
General Health Benefits of Vitamin D
Immune Health - Vitamin D is believed to play a factor in regulating the immune system. Supplementation with Vitamin D is believed to be associated with a lower risk of infections and a better ability to fight off infections.
Osteoporosis - More than 40 million Americans are at risk of Osteoporosis, a disease marked by low bone strength and an increased risk of fractures. Studies have shown that individuals who take a supplement with calcium and Vitamin D have stronger bones and are less likely to suffer from fractures.
Cancer - Evidence suggests that Vitamin D supplementation affects the risk of Colon, Breast, and Prostate Cancer. Several studies have shown that individuals taking a Vitamin D supplement had lower chances of developing these types of cancer.
The Evidence, Research & Studies
There is a significant amount of evidence linking Vitamin D deficiency to cognitive decline, Alzheimer's, and dementia.
Two studies conducted by Neuroscientists at the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester, England examined 4,500 individuals over the age of 65 and both found that lower levels of Vitamin D were associated with worse mental performance. The study conducted at the University of Cambridge found that individuals who were severely deficient for Vitamin D had double the risk of being cognitively impaired when compared to individuals with ideal Vitamin D levels. [Sources 9 & 10]
A concise introduction to Alzheimer's, what causes it, and how to prevent and treat it.