According to a new study, elderly who have vitamin D deficiency may be more susceptible to mental decline and other types of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and vascular dementia.
Vitamin D is found in foods like egg yolks, milk, and fish. The vitamin is absorbed by all of the body’s cells, preventing the development of dementia markers in the brain.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Neurology American Medical Association, was conducted by a team of researchers at Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Jersey. The team tracked nearly 400 men and women over 75 years old, with 50% being white and the rest black and latino.
Neurological surgeon Dr. Joshua Miller from Knoxville was the lead author of the study. The neurologist stated that the majority of adults over 75 years old from the United States suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
Although the study did not concluded that vitamin D supplements could prevent dementia, it proved that the vitamin could greatly improve the overall health of a patient.
The United States National Institutes of Health guidelines suggests that an adult’s recommended daily intake of vitamin D should be of 600 to 700 International Units. The foods that are the most rich in vitamin D are: cod liver oil, fish, mushrooms, fortified cereals, tofu (among many other soy products), egg yolks, milk, yogurt, and orange juice. But our body creates most vitamin D levels from direct contact with the sunlight.
Vitamin D deficiency can make our bones to become much weaker, which may lead to bone deformities, such as rickets in the case of children. In adults, a lack of vitamin D can cause sever bone pain – osteomalacia.
According to Dr. Joshua Miller’s research team vitamin D blood levels can be categorized in four terms: “deficient, insufficient, adequate, and high.”
Miller observed that most of the volunteers did not have sufficient vitamin D amounts in their blood levels. The neurologist explained that it is normal, considering the age of the patients. He declared CBS news that the blood levels of fourth of the volunteers were deficient, while a little more than 35% of them were insufficient.
The study participants that suffered from different types of dementia had the lowest vitamin D levels, whereas those with normal cognitive health or mild mental decline had small vitamin D doses in their blood levels. Those with the lowest vitamin D levels had trouble performing cognitive tasks such as problem solving and memory tests.
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