Food and Behaviour Research

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29 Oct 2012 - D is for Dementia - Vitamin D and Brain Health

By Jennifer Gibson

Think of the health benefits of vitamin D, and you’ll probably think of bone strength. For decades, diseases like osteoporosis, osteopenia, and osteomalacia have been prevented and treated with adequate vitamin D intake, among other interventions. In recent years, the evidence that vitamin D affects more than just bones has mounted; cardiovascular disease, cancers, stroke, depression, and metabolic disorders have all been linked to low vitamin D levels. A new review adds cognitive decline and dementia to that list.

The authors of a new review assessed 37 studies that evaluated vitamin D concentrations and cognitive function. The studies included various populations and age groups, but most included both men and women over 65 years of age. As part of the review, the authors conducted two meta-analyses: one to compare the mean vitamin D concentration between participants with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and controls and one to compare mean mental status scores between participants with low vitamin D levels and those with higher levels.