Anybody who has experienced Alzheimer’s will know the helplessness that comes with this devastating disease. Anybody who has seen it in a friend or family member will know the pain that comes from seeing your loved one deteriorate.
Over 4,000 scientists attended a recent International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease. One study conducted by the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, England reports that vitamin D may be your best defense against Alzheimer’s. The study says that vitamin D deficiency raises your risk of mental decline by up to 394 percent.
Study results showed that the risk of cognitive impairment was 42 percent higher in people deficient in vitamin D. Impairment was 394 percent higher in those who were severely deficient in it.
“The odds of cognitive impairment increase as vitamin D levels go down,” says study author David Llewellyn. “Given that both vitamin D deficiency and dementia are common throughout the world, this is a major public health concern.”
The Peninsula Medical School also worked on an earlier related study. It too offered evidence supporting this simple truth: seniors who get their daily dose of “sunshine” maintain stronger cognitive functioning.
Sunshine is an important source of vitamin D. UVB rays initiate the production of the vitamin in human skin. Vitamin D also helps maintain strong bones (through the absorption of calcium and phosphorus) and a healthy immune system.
According to study author Dr. Iain Lang, the results indicate that individuals with the lowest levels of Vitamin D were 50 percent more likely to suffer impaired mental faculties. In other words, as vitamin D levels in seniors decreases, mental impairment increases.
“Getting enough vitamin D can be a real problem,” said Dr. Lang. “Particularly for older people, who absorb less vitamin D from sunlight. One way to address this might be to provide older adults with vitamin D supplements.”
Older people lose their capacity to absorb Vitamin D from sunlight as the body ages. That means they must seek other sources of the “sunshine vitamin.”
Vitamin D can also be found in foods such as oily fish and eggs. These foods are key sources of vitamin B12, which studies have shown to also help in protecting the brain.
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