Study links vitamin D deficiency to increased risk for Alzheimer - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Study links vitamin D deficiency to increased risk for Alzheimer's, dementia

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A new study shows a link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk for Alzheimer's and dementia. (Source: MGN Online) A new study shows a link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk for Alzheimer's and dementia. (Source: MGN Online)

(RNN) - Have you taken your vitamins today?

A new study from the University of Exeter Medical School shows low vitamin D levels can more than double a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The team of researchers found adults who are moderately deficient in vitamin D have a 53 percent increase of developing dementia of any kind. That climbs to a 125 percent increase for those who are severely deficient.

Study participants who were moderately deficient were 69 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and 122 percent more likely if the person was severely deficient.

“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, who led the study, in a news release.

The study followed more than 1,600 adults age 65 and older for six years.

Researchers cautioned that results don’t demonstrate that low vitamin D levels cause dementia.

“That said, 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,” Llewellyn said.

The student is published in the Aug. 6 issue of Neurology.

Vitamin D comes naturally from sun exposure and oily foods like fish. Because it can be tough to get enough of it in an every day diet, supplements are often recommended. 

Vitamin D has a host of health benefits, including helping bones absorb calcium and fighting fatigue.

According to WebMD, vitamin D deficiency can be linked to a number of illnesses, including breast cancer, heart disease and colon cancer.

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