Dementia and Vitamin D Status: Could an optimized Vitamin D level help stave off dementia?
Updated: Mar 12
We know Vitamin D is important for mental health, with a deficiency of this vital nutrient linked to mood problems, depression, and anxiety, but is it possible that Vitamin D contributes to the physical health of the brain?
Even though the brain is the most complex organ in the body, it is not well understood. Even in the age of modern science, the brain remains a mystery to physiologists, doctors, and researchers alike. At its most basic level, the brain is a 3-pound blob of fat and neurons.
The fact that the brain is largely made up of fat may be one of the reasons that Vitamin D is important for its function. Vitamin D is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier to enter nerve cells in the brain.
Let's look at some research about Vitamin D and dementia and Alzheimer's disease:
In 2019 a meta-analysis was published in BMC Neurology that looked at over 21,000 participants from 11 different research papers. This analysis found that participants with a Vitamin D level over 20 ng/ml had a 24% lower chance of developing dementia and a 25% lower chance of developing Alzheimer's disease than the participants who had a Vitamin D level below 20 ng/ml.
40% less incidence of dementia!
More recently, a study published in 2023 in the journal: Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring looked at over 12,000 participants who all entered the study without dementia. They determined that 37% of the participants had been taking Vitamin D supplements before entering the study. In the portion of the participants that did take Vitamin D supplements, they found 40% less incidence of dementia.
While these correlations do not necessarily prove causation, the evidence seems to support the need for maintaining a healthy level of Vitamin D. Most experts from around the world agree that an optimal range for Vitamin D levels is 40 - 60 ng/ml. Do you know your Vitamin D level?