Worldwide, 55 million people currently suffer from dementia-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
With an aging population, it is foreseeable that many more people will face this threat in the future.
A recent study published in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association (Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association) found that higher levels of vitamin D in the brain help maintain cognitive function.
Scientists examined brain tissue samples from 209 elderly participants in a long-term investigation of Alzheimer’s disease after their death, looking at vitamin D levels in four brain regions.
Two of these brain regions were associated with Alzheimer’s disease-related changes, one was associated with vascular dementia, and one was not found to be associated with either Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia.
It was found that high levels of vitamin D were associated with better cognitive function regardless of which of these four brain regions.
However, vitamin D levels were not associated with pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, such as amyloid plaques and mini-strokes.
Although vitamin D supplementation through diet and sun exposure may prevent cognitive decline, scientists caution that excessive use of vitamin D supplements can also be harmful.