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Vitamin D Could Help Prevent Dementia

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Vitamin D can prevent Dementia risk in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Credit: Public Domain

Over 55 million people across the globe are currently living with dementia, with the majority of them residing in low- and middle-income nations. The CDC estimates that nearly 10 million new cases are reported every year.

Dementia is a medical condition that is caused by different diseases and injuries that directly impact the brain. The most common form of this condition is Alzheimer’s disease, which is responsible for 60-70% of all dementia cases, according to the CDC.

A group of researchers from two different universities, the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute and the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, worked together to study how taking vitamin D supplements may affect the risk of dementia in more than 12,000 people.

Their study found that people who said they take vitamin D supplements may have a lower risk of getting dementia.

One of the lead authors of the study, Dr. Zahinoor Ismail, who is a medical doctor and a professor at the universities where the study was done, explained that we already know vitamin D can do some good things for the brain, but sometimes different studies give different results.

Development of dementia among different genders

Although vitamin D showed potential benefits for everyone, the research team discovered that the benefits of taking vitamin D supplements were significantly higher in women than in men.

Additionally, the benefits were greater in people who had normal thinking abilities than in those who had mild thinking problems. Unsurprisingly, mild thinking problems have been linked to a higher risk of developing dementia.

The study also found that vitamin D had a greater impact on people who did not have the APOEe4 gene, which is known to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia.

The researchers believe that people with the APOEe4 gene may absorb vitamin D more effectively from their intestines, which could decrease the benefits of taking vitamin D supplements. However, the researchers did not test this idea by measuring vitamin D levels in the blood.

Dr. Byron Creese, who is a professor at the University of Exeter and also one of the study’s authors, emphasizes the importance of preventing or delaying the onset of dementia since more and more people are being affected by it.

He suggests that taking vitamin D supplements may be helpful in achieving this goal, but more research is needed to confirm this finding through clinical trials.

Become part of the CAN-PROTECT study

Dr. Ismail explains that the CAN-PROTECT study is a very important and thorough national study that will give us valuable information about which risk factors, either by themselves or combined with others, are best targeted for preventing dementia.

Anyone who is 40 years of age or older may participate in the CAN-PROTECT study. However, there are additional questionnaires designed specifically for caregivers of all types, family and friends as well as professional caregivers like nurses, doctors, care aides, and other healthcare professionals.

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