Low vitamin D may increase risk for Alzheimer’s
You hear about the importance of taking vitamins for the growth and development of the skin, bones, and muscles all the time. Now a recent study says adults who are not getting the proper amount of vitamin D may be at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms include poor judgment and decision making, loosing track of the date or season, and difficulty having a conversation. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death; which affects more than five million Americans.
Between 1992-1993 and 1999, the U.S. Cardiovascular Health Study analyzed blood samples on 1,600 mentally healthy adults over the age of 65. Results showed that the participants who were found to have a deficiency of vitamin D were 1.7 times more likely to develop dementia.
Diane Kuehnlenz, a geriatric advanced practice nurse at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., sheds light on this connection.
“The vitamin may stimulate the white blood cell response to help destroy the plaques that contribute Alzheimer’s disease,” Kuehnlenz says.
“Vitamin D plays a very important role in your bone health,” added Michelle Remkus, a registered dietitian Specialist at the Advocate Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill. “The reason is because it aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus into your bones keeping them healthy and strong.”
Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because the sun light’s converts vitamin D into the body. Remkus also suggests 10-15 minutes of sunlight is all you need to receive a great amount of vitamin D into your body. It is also found in foods including fish, eggs, milk , orange juice, yogurt, cheeses, cereals, breads and soy drinks.
Adults who feel worried that may have deficiency of vitamin D should talk to their health care provider, physicians say.
“Your doctor can check a blood level and if it is low (less than 30 ng/ml) you need to supplement your diet with vitamin D capsules,” says Dr. William Rhoades, geriatric specialist with Advocate Medical Group in Park Ridge.
Dr. Rhoades also says people living in the Midwest typically don’t get enough sunshine.
“Many people need vitamin D supplementation to improve bone health, joint pain, and balance,” Dr. Rhoades says.
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