Taking vitamin D 'could help prevent dementia'


Vitamin D is crucial for keeping bones, teeth, and muscles healthy.

Now, new research has shown that taking vitamin D supplements may also help keep dementia at bay.

Experts from the University of Calgary in Canada and the University of Exeter in the U.K. have explored the relationship between vitamin D supplementation and dementia in over 12,000 people.

Accordingly, they found that taking vitamin D was associated with living dementia-free for longer, and they also found 40 per cent fewer dementia diagnoses in the group who took supplements.

"We know that vitamin D has some effects in the brain that could have implications for reducing dementia, however so far, research has yielded conflicting results," said Professor Zahinoor Ismail. "Our findings give key insights into groups who might be specifically targeted for vitamin D supplementation. Overall, we found evidence to suggest that earlier supplementation might be particularly beneficial, before the onset of cognitive decline."

While vitamin D was effective in all groups, the team found that effects were significantly greater in women.

In light of the findings, the researchers are hoping to undertake further studies.

"Preventing dementia or even delaying its onset is vitally important given the growing numbers of people affected. The link with vitamin D in this study suggests that taking vitamin D supplements may be beneficial in preventing or delaying dementia, but we now need clinical trials to confirm whether this is really the case," added co-author Dr Byron Creese.

The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors, and it is also found in a small number of foods such as oily fish, red meat, egg yolks, and fortified foods.

According to current U.K. Government advice, everyone should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months.

Full study results have been published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.