Vitamin D deficiency linked to increased dementia and stroke risk

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Over 55 million people globally live with dementia, with researchers estimating that number to grow to 78 million by 2030. Researchers from the University of South Australia uncovered evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk for dementia and stroke. Scientists agree more research is required to fully understand the link between vitamin D and heightened dementia risk.

Vitamin D has long been touted as an important part of a person’s health. Not only is it crucial for bone healthTrusted Source, but past research shows vitamin D also plays an important role in immune system functionTrusted Source.

Additionally, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular diseaseTrusted Source, and respiratory diseases like acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Adding to this list, researchers from the University of South Australia believe they have evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk for dementia and stroke.

The study was recently published in The American Journal of Clinical NutritionTrusted Source.

The term “dementia” refers to a collection of diseasesTrusted Source that affect a person’s cognitive abilities. Dementia affects people’s ability to think, remember, and communicate normally. Over 55 million people globally live with dementia. Researchers believe that number will grow to 78 million by 2030. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s diseaseTrusted Source, accounting for 60% to 70%Trusted Source of dementia cases.

Researchers analyzed genetic data from almost 295,000 participants in the UK Biobank biomedical database for this study. Scientists measured variations in participants’ genes to find how a low vitamin D level impacted a person’s neuroimaging of the brain and their risk for dementia and stroke.

Researchers associated a lower vitamin D level with a lower brain volumeTrusted Source and an increased risk of dementia and stroke. They also stated their genetic analysis supports vitamin D deficiency’s causal effect on dementia. According to Prof. Elina Hyppönen, senior investigator and director of the Australian Centre for Precision Health at the University of South Australia, researchers have long suspected that vitamin D may have implications for the development of neurocognitive diseases such as dementia. However, evidence about whether these effects are causal has been lacking.

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