Vitamin D stops dementia, strokes
A world-first study from the University of South Australia (UniSA) has found a direct link between dementia and stroke and a lack of vitamin D. Below-par levels of vitamin D were also associated with lower brain volumes. It also suggests that in some populations dementia might be prevented by increasing vitamin D levels to baseline levels of vitamin D (50 nmol/L), which even then may not be optimal.
Senior investigator and Director of UniSA’s Australian Centre for Precision Health, Professor Elina Hyppönen, says, “Vitamin D is a hormone precursor that is increasingly recognised for [its] 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. Our study is the first to examine the effect of very low levels of vitamin D on the risks of dementia and stroke, using robust genetic analyses among a large population . . . We observed that up to 17 percent of dementia cases might have been avoided by boosting vitamin D levels to be within a normal range.
“Most of us are likely to be okay, but for anyone who for whatever reason may not receive enough vitamin D from the sun, modifications to diet may not be enough, and supplementation may well be needed,” she adds.