Health & Fitness

Vitamin D to help Prevent Dementia

Notepad with vitamin d and pills on the table.

Warmer weather is on the way and with it comes sunshine and vitamin D. That’s a good thing, indeed, because it is becoming increasingly important for older adults and seniors to get their fill of the sunshine vitamin.

We all know vitamin D—generated by the sun or gained through supplements—has several positive effects on the human body. Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to conditions ranging from multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis to heart disease and different cancers. Now you can add Alzheimer disease and dementia to that list, according to Dr. Reinhold Vieth and the Vitamin D Society.

Dr. Vieth, scientific advisor for the society and professor at the University of Toronto, says maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D all year long can help older adults and seniors prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer disease.

Methods to prevent the rise in Alzheimer’s disease couldn’t be more timely either, as the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada reports 15 per cent of Canadians 65 and older are affected, and incidence of the disease is set to double to 1.4 million patients in the next 15 years.

Research from the study “Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease” published in the Journal Neurology found that older adults who have low vitamin D levels are twice as likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer disease. The study concluded that, “Our results confirm that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease.”

Dr. Gerry Schwalfenberg a practicing M.D., and Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Family Practice at the University of Alberta agrees with Dr. Vieth, and recommends vitamin D for his patients to help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Vitamin D Society advises adults to maintain an optimal blood level of vitamin D between 100-150 nmol/L, which can be generated by spending about 15 to 30 minutes in the sun in the mid-day hours from mid May to early October, when the UVI is >3, or daily D3 supplementation of up to 4,000 IU.

For more information on vitamin D, check out the Vitamin D Society.