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Vitamin D may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease

April 27, 2012

A new study from France suggests that increased vitamin D intakes can lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

In the observational study, the dietary vitamin D intakes of 498 women with an average age of 79.8 who did not take vitamin D supplements were assessed using food frequency questionnaires (1). The study results showed that women with lower vitamin D intakes (50 micrograms per week) at the start of the study had a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s after 7 years compared with women with higher intakes (59 micro-grams per week). Furthermore, the highest average intakes of vitamin D were associated with a risk reduction of Alzheimer’s of up to 77%, compared with lower intakes.

The researchers concluded that the low consumption of vitamin D-rich food may precede the onset of Alzhei-mer’s disease. Vitamin D has been linked to brain (hippocampus) protection in rodents by influencing the production and clearance of beta-amyloid proteins. The build-up of plaque from beta-amyloid deposits is associated with an increase in brain cell damage and death from oxidative stress, which is related to a loss of cognitive function and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists noted that the potential brain benefits of vitamin D may also be linked to omega-3 fatty acids, present in vitamin D-rich foods, such as fish.

References

  1. Annweiler C. et al. Higher vitamin D dietary intake is associated with lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease: A 7-year follow-up. The Journal of Gerontology: Medical Science. Published online April 2012.