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An association between low vitamin D levels and cognitive decline may exist

View of a human brain
View of a human brain
Pixabay/Free photo

There has been a growing interest in the association between nutritional factors and brain health. A new study has examined the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and cognition reports Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center on April 15, 2014. It has been known that vitamin D deficiency and cognitive impairment are common in older adults. However, there hasn't been a great deal of conclusive research into whether a relationship exists between the two.

Valerie Wilson, M.D., assistant professor of geriatrics at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, has said this study offers increasing evidence which suggests there is an association which exists between low vitamin D levels and cognitive decline over the course of time. This study did not establish a direct cause and effect relationship. Wilson says it would have a dramatic public health implication if vitamin D supplementation
could be shown to improve cognitive performance over time because deficiency has been found to be so common in the population.

Wilson and colleagues investigated the association between vitamin D levels and cognitive function over the course of time in older adults. Over a period of 4 years the researchers noted low vitamin D was associated with poorer cognitive performance on one of the two cognitive tests which were used. Wilson shared that she thinks it is certainly interesting that there is this association. It is her position that the next important question is whether or not supplementing vitamin D would improve cognitive function over the course of time. Wilson has also suggested further research in order to evaluate whether specific cognitive domains, such as memory versus concentration, are particularly sensitive to low vitamin D levels.

This study has been published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. It was concluded low vitamin D levels were associated with poorer global cognitive function and greater decline over time according to the a modified mini mental status examination. It is suggested that intervention trials are now necessary to determine whether vitamin D supplementation can lessen cognitive decline. If this can be shown there would be anticipated to be a significant lowering of cognitive decline in the elderly with vitamin D supplementation.