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Elderly folks with vitamin D deficiencies have double the risk of Alzheimer's


(NaturalNews) The most comprehensive study conducted on the subject found recently that vitamin D levels make a big difference when it comes to your risk of developing dementia.

In 2014, a multidisciplinary team of scientists and researchers from some of the finest universities and other institutions of higher learning from around the world, found evidence that elderly people who were severely lacking in vitamin D were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia and mental capacity deficits, than those who had optimal and normal levels of the vitamin.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Neurology, examined 1,658 adults who were 65 years of age or older. All study participants were deemed healthy and mentally normal at the start of the study, were able to get around without the assistance of a walker, and did not have heart disease.

Researchers studied the participants for six years, and paid particular attention to those who went on to develop some form of dementia, comparing vitamin D levels in all subjects. The researchers found a strong link between diminished vitamin D levels and the risk or onset of dementia. Among participants who were moderately deficient in the vitamin, for example, there was a 53 percent increased risk of general dementia. For Alzheimer's specifically, subjects suffering from moderate deficiency were 69 percent more likely to develop the condition than those with sufficient levels.

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For subjects deemed "severely deficient" – a range that is somewhere between 25 and 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) of vitamin D – the risk was even more pronounced. The risk was 122 percent higher for Alzheimer's among test subjects with severe deficiencies. For general dementia the risk was even higher at 125 percent.

The scientists involved in the study thought ahead of time that they may see some link between low levels of vitamin D and dementia, but admitted after studying the results that they certainly had not anticipated the dramatic variance that was observed. They believe that their findings serve as a sort of wake-up call for millions of aging baby boomers who are already at risk for developing dementia and Alzheimer's.

"We expected to find an association between low Vitamin D levels and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, but the results were surprising -- we actually found that the association was twice as strong as we anticipated," said Dr. David Llewellyn from the University of Exeter Medical School, one of the study's authors.

That said, the findings of the study are hardly surprising, considering the multitude of benefits of vitamin D consumption. For instance, the Vitamin D Council lists 40 health conditions that modern research has confirmed are associated with lowered vitamin D levels – a condition that is easily preventable with exposure to sunlight, proper natural diet and supplementation.

"Clinical trials are now needed to establish whether eating foods such as oily fish or taking vitamin D supplements can delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease and dementia," added Llewellyn. "Our findings are very encouraging, and even if a small number of people could benefit, this would have enormous public health implications given the devastating and costly nature of dementia."

Though stopping short of actually recommending that vitamin D supplementation be initiated along with increased sunlight exposure as a means of thwarting the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's, Dr. Doug Brown, the director of research and development at the Alzheimer's society, makes that connection.

"During this hottest of summers, hitting the beach for just 15 minutes of sunshine is enough to boost your vitamin D levels," he is quoted as saying by the University of Exeter.

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