This article discusses a new research that provides clear evidence that the sunshine vitamin is vital to the cognitive health of older women.
Higher blood saturation levels of vitamin D have been conclusively shown to lower the risk for a myriad of chronic illnesses including heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. More recent scientific studies are beginning to draw a solid connection between intake of the sunshine vitamin and how well we retain memories, utilize thought processes and learn new concepts. Additionally, many forward thinking health researchers are providing clear evidence that the prohormone can impact the overall risk for developing the insidious memory robbing illness known as Alzheimer’s disease.
A research team from the Angers University Hospital in France has released the results of a study in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences that demonstrates how vitamin D may be a vital component for the cognitive health of women as they age. In the study, scientists provide evidence to demonstrate that higher vitamin D dietary intake is associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Study highlights the critical importance of vitamin D supplementation among the elderly
In past studies, researchers have concluded that low vitamin D levels among older women are associated with higher odds of global cognitive impairment and a higher risk of global cognitive decline. This study was based on an analysis of 6,257 older women who had vitamin D levels measured during the Study of Osteopathic Fractures and whose cognitive function was tested by the Mini-Mental State Examination.
The researchers found that participants with the lowest blood concentration of vitamin D (fewer than 10 ng/mL using the standard 25(OH)D blood test) were associated with significantly higher odds of global cognitive impairment at baseline among the older women. Those with blood saturation levels considered to be low (fewer than 20 ng/mL) were associated with a higher risk of incident global cognitive decline, as measured by performance on the Mental State Examination. It is important to note that vitamin D readings below 20 ng/mL are frequent among those aged 65 and older, placing them at considerable risk for cognitive decline and dementia.
The study team concluded that “women who developed Alzheimer’s disease had lower baseline vitamin D intakes (an average of 50.3 micrograms per week) than those who developed other dementias (an average of 63.6 micrograms per week) or no dementia at all (an average of 59.0 micrograms per week).” Conversion of vitamin D in the skin from sun exposure declines rapidly after the age of 50, necessitating a prudent supplementation program to maintain optimal blood saturation levels (50 to 70 ng/mL) and dramatically lower risk for memory loss, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s dementia.