Low Vitamin D Levels May Put Brain, Memory at Risk

New research shows low vitamin D levels can lead to faster declines in brain function. How can you avoid this fate?

Low vitamin D levels can lead to faster declines in brain function, new research shows.

The effects are particularly pronounced in terms of memory loss and other issues associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The brain functions of people with low vitamin D levels declined three times faster than those of people with adequate vitamin D levels, according to researchers from the University of California-Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center and Rutgers University.

Joshua Miller, currently a professor in and chairman of Rutgers’ Department of Nutritional Sciences, states in a news release:

“Independent of race or ethnicity, baseline cognitive abilities and a host of other risk factors, vitamin D insufficiency was associated with significantly faster declines in both episodic memory and executive function performance.”

What scientists call “executive function” refers to the mental skills that enable a person to accomplish tasks. Such skills include managing time, paying attention and remembering details, for example. “Episodic memory” refers to a person’s memory of specific events.

The study also states that the declines in executive function and episodic memory associated with low vitamin D levels “may correspond to elevated risk for Alzheimer’s disease (and) dementia.”

The research involved a study of 382 older adults who were followed for about five years. Their average age was about 76 and they were primarily white, African-American or Hispanic.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Neurology this week.

The research notes that there are two major sources of vitamin D.

The first is sun exposure. But some minorities are at greater risk of low vitamin D because the higher concentration of melanin that makes their skin darker inhibits the body’s synthesis of vitamin D.

The second major source is diet, especially dairy intake, which is also lower among minorities.

One limitation of the study, however, is that the researchers did not directly measure sun exposure, dairy intake or exercise, all of which can influence vitamin D levels.

Do you take any steps to ensure you get enough vitamin D? Let us know in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

Read Next: Millions of Medicare Recipients Face Premium Hike in 2016

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,497 more deals!