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Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements for Seniors

Low Vitamin D Level Increases Risk for Aging Women of Alzheimer’s, Cognitive Decline

Women who developed Alzheimer’s disease had lower vitamin D intake; low vitamin D among older women associated with global cognitive impairment

Nov. 30, 2012 - Two new studies emphasize that vitamin D appears to play a key role in protecting aging women from Alzheimer’s disease and older women in particular from other cognitive impairment. The studies appear in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

Higher vitamin D dietary intake is associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to the research conducted by a team led by Cedric Annweiler, MD, PhD, at the Angers University Hospital in France.

Similarly, investigators led by Yelena Slinin, MD, MS, at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis found that low vitamin D levels among older women are associated with higher odds of global cognitive impairment (impairments in all cognitive areas) and a higher risk of global cognitive decline.

 

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Slinin’s group based its analysis on 6,257 community-dwelling older women who had vitamin D levels measured during the Study of Osteopathic Fractures and whose cognitive function was tested by the Mini-Mental State Examination and/or Trail Making Test Part B.

Very low levels of vitamin D (less than 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood serum) among older women were associated with higher odds of global cognitive impairment at baseline, and low vitamin D levels (less than 20 nanograms per milliliter) among cognitively-impaired women were associated with a higher risk of incident global cognitive decline, as measured by performance on the Mini-Mental State Examination.

Annweieler’s team’s findings were based on data from 498 community-dwelling women who participated in the Toulouse cohort of the Epidemiology of Osteoporosis study.

Among this population, women who developed Alzheimer’s disease had lower baseline vitamin D intakes (an average of 50.3 micrograms per week) than those who developed other dementias (an average of 63.6 micrograms per week) or no dementia at all (an average of 59.0 micrograms per week).

Earlier Study Finds Low Vitamin D Linked to Disability for Men and Women

These reports follow an article published in the Journals of Gerontology Series A earlier this year that found that both men and women who don’t get enough vitamin D - either from diet, supplements, or sun exposure - may be at increased risk of developing mobility limitations and disability.

The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences is a refereed publication of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,400+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

 

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