Vitamin D and dementia
Dementia refers to a set of symptoms, which are mainly a disabling impairment of memory, language, and executive abilities. There are several forms, including Alzheimer's disease (60 to 80% of cases), but also vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and fronto-temporal dementia. Research has long been interested in the possible causes of these conditions, and several articles have suggested that vitamin D deficiency may be associated with an increased risk of dementia.
This vitamin has various functions in the body, and is mainly contained in fatty fish, but also in milk or orange juice. Short-term exposure to the sun can also increase the concentration of this molecule. A recently published article studied the amount of vitamin D directly in the brain for the first time, using 290 brains of elderly people port-mortem. This observational study showed that high concentrations of vitamin D in four brain regions were correlated with a 25-33% decrease in the risk of developing dementia or mild cognitive impairment.
Although the role of vitamin D is not yet clear, this line of research underscores the importance of the impact of diet and nutrients on the brain, and their potential protective effects against neurodegenerative diseases.