A new study has found that older adults who are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s may be able to prevent the disease by taking vitamin D supplements on a daily basis.
A team of US researchers says that individuals age 60 and over are much more likely to show signs of cognitive decline and dementia if they suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. And the conditions spread three (3) times faster in these individuals than they do in those without a vitamin D deficiency.
This vitamin is also referred to as the sunshine vitamin because our bodies produce it when they come into contact with sunlight. It plays an integral part in promoting bone health, calcium absorption, and some studies have even suggested that vitamin D may offer protection against type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and multiple sclerosis.
And now, field experts from Rutgers University and the University of California are saying that this vitamin may also protect older adults from developing Alzheimer’s disease, especially if the patients with low levels of vitamin D happen to have darker skin tones.
Joshua Miller, professor from the Department of Nutritional Sciences from Rutgers University, gave a statement saying that “On average, people with low vitamin D declined two to three times as fast as those with adequate vitamin D. This work, and that of others, suggests that there is enough evidence to recommend that people in their 60s and older discuss taking a daily vitamin D supplement with their physicians.”
He went on to add that even if future research will prove that adopting this habit has absolutely no effect on mental decline, doing so shouldn’t pose any health risk either.
What’s more, even if vitamin D supplements will not benefit individuals by preventing Alzheimer’s disease, they may still have a positive effect on their health as a recent survey has shown that about 50 percent (50%) of all American adults suffer from one degree or another of vitamin D deficiency.
Field experts have two (2) main explanations for why this has happened. One is that people spend an increasing amount of time indoors, on their computers and gadgets, the other is that many people have gotten in the habit of using too much sunblock.
Professor Miller understands that some people may be weary of sunlight because they may have had melanoma, or they fear getting melanoma, and that other people live in climates with weak sunlight, or they have jobs that keep them indoors, and away from the sun. He advises these individuals to make up for the absence of sunlight by taking vitamin D supplements.
It’s worth mentioning that vitamin D can also be taken from oily fish and other similar foods, however researchers stress that people can’t get the vitamin D dose that they need from diets alone.
To reach these conclusions, professor Miller and his colleagues looked at a group of 400 older adults and followed them for five (5) years. They saw that the subjects who suffered from vitamin D deficiency experienced cognitive decline two (2) or three (3) times faster than subjects who had a healthy level of vitamin D in their systems.
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