Vitamin D Appears Neuroprotective Against Alzheimer’s, Dementia

Rob Wipond
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“Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease,” concluded a team of mainly US researchers in a study published in Neurology. The researchers examined vitamin D levels in 1,658 elderly adults who participated in the US population–based Cardiovascular Health Study between 1992–1993 and 1999, in which 171 people ultimately developed some form of dementia. Adults with a moderate vitamin D deficiency had a 53 percent higher risk of dementia, and for those with severe deficiences the risk was 125 percent higher. The rates were comparable for vitamin D deficiencies and the development of Alzheimer’s specifically.

According to the Washington Post, researcher David J. Llewellyn said the team expected to find a link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia, but the strong correlation between the two was surprising. “We thought it was important for bone health. But there’s this recent revelation that it might be playing an important role throughout the body,” Llewellyn said, adding that vitamin D may act as a buffer regulating calcium levels in brain cells.

“Our findings support the hypothesis that vitamin D may be neuroprotective and that ‘sufficiency’ in the context of dementia risk may be in the region of 50 nmol/L,” wrote the researchers. “This information is likely to prove useful in improving the design and reducing the cost of randomized controlled trials investigating whether vitamin D supplements can be used to delay or prevent the onset of dementia and AD in older adults.”


Researchers say Vitamin D deficiency raises Alzheimer’s risk
(The Washington Post, August 6, 2014)

Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease (Littlejohns, Thomas J. et al. Published online before print August 6, 2014, doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000755 Neurology 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000755)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

8 COMMENTS

      • Yes, and I often wonder how naturally extreme mental and emotional stressors require additional vitamins. The iron deficiency that I thought was depression, that led to a decade of rotating cocktails, and the one that occurred at the end of those ten years and made it clear that my “retarded depression” was anemia occurred while I was hypervigilant and suffering other stresses of PTSD.

        The body and the mind are not separate, and oh isn’t that difficult for psychiatry to get, but I was a 24/7 support person and caregiver for a man on a transplant waiting list, and I’ve seen him lapse into a state of temporary coma after a phone conversation with his ex-wife. Liver function is absolutely vital to mental functioning, most of us get to take it for granted.

        On that note, I’m going to take some sublingual B vitamins, now.

        • Iron deficiency may be a big factor – I had a drug-induced (Zyprexa and Seroquel) restless leg syndrome and only managed to cure it after almost 2yrs with iron supplements (magnesium was also helpful but only to relieve the symptoms temporarily). For sure these drugs made me more sensitive to effects of low iron (iron is needed for dopamine signalling and both affect this pathway) but I wonder how much this contributed to the overall problem to begin with. Plus some of the drugs may have effects on the vitamin and microelement intake and metabolism. In any case it only shows how much psychiatrists are not doing their jobs – they are require to exclude the physical reasons for mental distress before diagnosing any “mental illness” – what a joke that is we all know.

          • It’s absolutely outrageous that psychiatrists train to be medical doctors in order to ignore medical conditions with “psychiatric” effects. What an absolute waste.

          • Having difficulty posting this so adding words for technical reasons.

            It’s absolutely outrageous that psychiatrists train to be medical doctors in order to ignore medical conditions with “psychiatric” effects. What an absolute waste.