Vitamin D deficiency linked to increased risk of dementia and stroke

  • There are over 55 million people living with dementia worldwide, and researchers estimate that number will rise to 78 million by 2030.
  • Researchers from the University of South Australia uncovered evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of dementia and stroke.
  • Scientists agree that more research is needed to fully understand the link between vitamin D and an increased risk of dementia.

Vitamin D has long been touted as an important part of a person’s health. It is not only crucial for bone healthbut previous research shows that vitamin D also plays an important role function of the immune system.

In addition, vitamin D deficiency has been linked diabetes, cardiovascular diseaseand diseases of the respiratory tract such as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

In addition to this list, researchers from the University of South Australia believe they have evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of dementia and stroke.

The study was recently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The term “dementia” refers to a Collection of diseases affecting a person’s cognitive abilities. Dementia affects people’s ability to think, remember and communicate normally.

Over 55 million people worldwide live with dementia. Researchers believe the number will rise to 78 million by 2030.

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s diseaseresponsible for 60% to 70% of dementia cases.

Other types of dementia are:

In addition to vascular dementia caused by stroke past research shows that stroke patients have an increased risk of developing dementia.

Researchers analyzed genetic data from nearly 295,000 participants in the UK Biobank biomedical database for this study. Scientists measured variations in the participants’ genes to find out how low vitamin D levels affected a person’s brain neuroimaging and their risk of dementia and stroke.

Researchers associated lower vitamin D levels with a lower brain volume and an increased risk of dementia and stroke. They also indicated that their genetic analysis supports the causal effect of vitamin D deficiency on dementia.

Corresponding Prof. Elina Hyppönen, Senior Investigator and Director of the Australian Center for Precision Health at the University of South Australia, researchers have long suspected that vitamin D may have an impact on the development of neurocognitive disorders such as dementia. However, there is no evidence that these effects are causal.

“Indeed, it has been very difficult to demonstrate the effects of vitamin D on brain health or other diseases, in large part because clinical trials in people with clinical vitamin D deficiency would be ethically unacceptable,” said Prof Hyppönen Medical news today.

“Therefore, we wanted to use a novel genetic design to test whether we can provide causal evidence for a role for vitamin D in brain health, and specifically whether improvements in vitamin D status in people with vitamin D deficiency will help.” . ” She explained.

Previous research – including a Study 2018 which conducted a systematic review and analysis of over 70 clinical and preclinical studies on the role of vitamin D in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – concluding that there is no concrete evidence that vitamin D is neuroprotective.

However more recent research supports the role of vitamin D in dementia prevention.

When asked how this research could help prevent dementia and stroke in the future, Hyppönen said this research highlights the importance of preventing and avoiding vitamin D deficiency.

“This is likely to be helpful not only for dementia risk but also for overall health,” she added. “In my opinion, strategies to fortify foods with vitamin D should be seriously reconsidered, and in countries where this has already been done, concentrations at the population level could be raised.”

And Hyppönen said she is already planning the next steps for this research.

It is important to continue working to determine which of the proposed health effects of vitamin D are truly causal and whether the serum concentration thresholds supported by our work to date also apply to other health outcomes,” she explained.

dr Heather SnyderVice President of Medical and Scientific Relations for the Alzheimer’s Association, is also interested in the next steps in research into these findings.

“This is an interesting study that examines the link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia risk and adds an interesting additional link that suggests there may be a genetic component that provides more information about this relationship,” she said MNT. “Nonetheless, more research is needed, including intervention studies, to determine whether stabilizing vitamin D levels would have a benefit in reducing the risk of dementia.”

“All of this is to say that the body and brain are closely connected and it’s important to take care of your overall health and well-being — including vitamin levels,” Snyder added. “Speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your health, including concerns about memory.”

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