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Low Vitamin D Linked to Cognitive Decline in Seniors

Update Date: Sep 14, 2015 10:26 PM EDT

Having low vitamin D levels significantly increases the risk of cognitive decline in older people, according to a new study.

Researchers found that people with lower levels of vitamin D experienced rates of cognitive decline at a significantly quicker pace than people with adequate vitamin D status.

"There were some people in the study who had low vitamin D who didn't decline at all and some people with adequate vitamin D who declined quickly," Miller said in a news release. "But on average, people with low vitamin D declined two to three times as fast as those with adequate vitamin D."

The latest study involved 382 people between the ages of 60 and 90. The study included people with normal cognition, mild cognitive loss and dementia, and, unlike previous studies, involved participants of all races and ethnicities.

After analyzing study results, researchers linked low vitamin D to significantly faster cognitive decline regardless of race or ethnicity.

"Some people may have had melanoma or fear getting it," Miller said in a news release. "Or, they may live in climates where the sun isn't powerful enough, or do work that keeps them out of the sun. That's where supplements come in."

"This will give us the additional information that we need to help determine whether vitamin D supplements can be used to slow the rate of cognitive decline and prevent dementia in older adults," Miller concluded.

The findings are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association-Neurology.

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