Higher Vitamin D levels Protect Against Cognitive Decline


Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension

ABC studies D

April 16 2014. The April, 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published findings derived from the Health, Aging and Body composition (Health ABC) study of a protective effect for higher vitamin D levels against cognitive decline over a four year period.

The current study included 2,777 well-functioning individuals between 70 to 79 years of age upon enrollment in Health ABC. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured one year after enrollment, and cognitive function was evaluated at the beginning of the study and at four years.

Sixty-eight percent of the subjects had low vitamin D levels of less than 30 ng/mL. The researchers observed an association between better cognitive test scores at the beginning of the study and higher vitamin D levels. When test scores at the end of the four year period were analyzed, a greater decline was noted in association with low vitamin D levels.

“This study provides increasing evidence that suggests there is an association between low vitamin D levels and cognitive decline over time,” stated lead author Valerie Wilson, MD, who is an assistant professor of geriatrics at Wake Forest Baptist. “Although this study cannot establish a direct cause and effect relationship, it would have a huge public health implication if vitamin D supplementation could be shown to improve cognitive performance over time because deficiency is so common in the population.”

“With just the baseline observational data, you can’t conclude that low vitamin D causes cognitive decline,” she added. “When we looked four years down the road, low vitamin D was associated with worse cognitive performance on one of the two cognitive tests used. It is interesting that there is this association and ultimately the next question is whether or not supplementing vitamin D would improve cognitive function over time.”

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