The Connection between Vitamin D and Cognitive Decline
Mild cognitive impairment, the cognitive pathology between normal aging and dementia is a dreaded start for an aging population.
Alzheimer's disease and dementia are two unbearable diseases for individuals and their loved ones.
Progressive memory loss and cognitive decline can affect families in many ways; families can be caregivers and must support the affected person with the many different tasks of daily living.
Families may also experience emotional distress and a lower quality of life.
Cognitive decline, like most diseases, is believed to be caused by a combination of genetics and environment.
Fortunately, there are many preventative measures people can take to reduce risk, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, continuing to challenge your brain and maintaining optimal vitamin D levels.
Connection between Vitamin D and Cognitive Decline
A recent meta-analysis of twenty-six studies concluded that low vitamin D is a clear risk factor for developing dementia.
More and more people are looking for ways to prevent the cognitive decline that comes with age.
Vitamin D not only helps regulate gene expression but simultaneously targets several factors leading to neurodegeneration through immune, antioxidant and anti-ischemic actions, regulation of neurotrophic factors, acetylcholine neurotransmitters and even clearance of beta amyloid.
Thus, vitamin D has a pervasive effect on the peripheral and central nervous systems.
Therefore, there is a mechanism to explain how vitamin D deficiency can be implicated in a number of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, dementia, autism, and a dozen others.
The Relationship of Vitamin D and Cognitive Decline According to Experts
A new study looked at the correlation between vitamin D levels and cognition. In this case, cognition was measured using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA).
MoCA scores can range from 0-30 and the sample consisted of 4,358 patients (n=1193 women, n=1963 men) >55 years of age from the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas. The patients filled out a medical history and received a physical examination and blood serum collection.
The researchers evaluated the participants' vitamin D levels at baseline and assessed memory and executive function using the MoCA score. Serum vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL are considered low.
The researchers also assessed the participants' physical fitness by measuring CRF, which is defined as the maximal treadmill exercise test duration. The findings showed a significant association between low vitamin D levels and low MoCA scores.
This study suggests that vitamin D testing and supplementation can help prevent cognitive decline as you age. In addition, adding aerobic exercise can only help support physical and mental health among aging individuals.
The Vitamin D Council recommends that adults supplement their daily requirement of 5,000-10,000 IU of vitamin D3 when they cannot receive safe and reasonable sun exposure to try to prevent dementia.
Higher doses, such as those used in randomized controlled trials, suggest vitamin D may even help improve cognition. To date, only animal studies have found that vitamin D can help with dementia, but clinical trials are underway in humans.