The results of a meta-analysis that have been published in the Aging Research Reviews journal have indicated that there may be a direct link between low levels of vitamin D and cognitive decline. The research was conducted in the Netherlands by Professor Emmelot-Vonk and Dr. van der Schaft at the University Medical Center Utrecht.
Cognitive decline involves the reduction of such functions of the brain such as memory, attention, learning, language, problem solving, reasoning, and decision-making. These declines occur in various forms of dementia disease, such as Alzheimer’s, which affects a large percentage of people, with age.
Among the key findings of the meta-analysis were that:
- In the U.S. reported severe vitamin D deficiency [25(OH)D < 20 ng/ml] prevalence is somewhere between 25 percent and 57 percent among adults.
- Vitamin D pathways are found in the glia cells, which provide protection and support for brain neurons.
- Vitamin D may play an important role in protecting the integrity and structure of neurons by way of detoxification pathways and the synthesis of neurotrophin (which is necessary for neurons to live).
Vitamin D could, therefore, play a role in cognitive decline and in cognition. Supplementation or replacement of vitamin D may help to prevent or slow the progression of dementia or at least some of its forms, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers concluded that these findings warrant further research.
van der Schaft J, Koek HL, Dijkstra E, Verhaar HJ, van der Schouw YT, Emmelot-Vonk MH. The association between vitamin D and cognition: A systematic review. Ageing Res Rev. 2013 May 29.
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