The September issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network’s Neurology publication contains a very interesting study on the relationship between vitamin D levels and brain health in older adults.
A team of researchers from Rutgers and the University of California assessed baseline vitamin D levels as related to changes in cognitive function using standard tests for different areas of decline. The study included 382 adults with a mean age of 75.5 years, and a followup of nearly 5 years (4.8 years on average).
This study was unique in that is was specifically designed to include significant numbers of African Americans and Hispanics to assess the impact of ethnicity on vitamin D levels overall in addition to cognitive decline.
The Medscape Medical News article about the study summed up the results nicely in their opening paragraph: “Low vitamin D levels are very common in older adults, especially African Americans and Hispanics, and are associated with accelerated decline in episodic memory and executive function, the two cognitive domains strongly associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia, a new study indicates.”
Average vitamin D levels were below national standards for adequacy for the entire group with a mean blood level of 19.2 ng/ml. “National standards” say that 20-50 ng/ml is “adequate” for healthy adults. DzLogic has a different perspective. Each person’s body chemistry is unique. As such, we base our optimization protocols on blood tests and a long-term perspective that shows us what works for each individual member. One person’s optimal may be 65 ng/ml, while another person’s optimal is 35 ng/ml. The numbers aren’t as important as the results the member is getting.
At baseline (the study’s starting point) the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency was highest (40.3%) in the group exhibiting quantifiable signs of dementia. Over the course of the study, rates of decline in memory and function were dramatically greater for those with the lowest vitamin D levels as well.
Are we saying that simply taking vitamin D will protect you from Alzheimer’s? No. Your body chemistry is far too complex for a broad statement like that. It is obvious, though, that optimizing your body chemistry has many benefits and this study is yet another piece of proof.
The research team itself summed it up nicely. “The magnitude of the effect of vitamin D insufficiency on cognition was substantial.”
Have you ever had the thought that simply optimizing your body chemistry as a way to avoid the otherwise certain decline in your health caused by aging was “too good to be true?” This study might have you reconsidering that position. The evidence continues to mount in support of our new paradigm in medicine.
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DISCLAIMER: This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not replace medical care from a licensed physician. If you have a medical concern, please contact DzLogic at 1-866-225-4877.