Studies find that people with lower blood levels of vitamin D have a higher risk of dementia. “But lower blood levels could be a consequence of the disease, because people with cognitive decline may stay at home,” says Jae Hee Kang, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. That means they’re not making vitamin D from sunlight.
“We found that women in their 60s with higher vitamin D levels had better cognitive function ten years later,” adds Kang. “But few long-term studies have been done, so the evidence is still preliminary.”
The VITAL trial, which is randomly assigning people to take vitamin D (2,000 IU a day) and/or fish oil for five years should offer answers.
“We’ll be evaluating brain health in the 3,000 oldest participants,” says Kang.
Look for results of the VITAL study in a few years for more information on the relationship between vitamin D and dementia.
Source: J. Nutr. Health Aging 2013. doi:10.1007/s12603-013-0409-9.
Other relevant links:
- Research shows that soy does not put you at risk for cognitive decline. See: How to Diet: Does Soy Put You at Risk for Cognitive Decline?
- Five key actions to maintain brain function. See: How to Keep Sharp
- High doses of caffeine may protect against cognitive decline. See: Caffeine and the Brain