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Lower Amounts of Vitamin D Tied to Cognitive Decline or Impairment in Women: Study

Update Date: Dec 02, 2012 09:59 AM EST

Latest studies have tied vitamin D intake to the cognitive performance in women. Two new studies appearing in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences reveal that as women age, vitamin D may be an essential component for their cognitive health.

According to a research conducted by a team led by Cedric Annweiler, MD, PhD, at the Angers University Hospital in France, women whose dietary intake of vitamin D is higher, lower their risk of contracting Alzheimer's disease, Medical Xpress reported.

Also, a separate study led by Yelena Slinin, MD, MS, at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis, found that low vitamin D among older women is associated with higher risks of cognitive impairment and decline.

For the study by Slinin's group, the researchers analyzed 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.

The researchers found that very low levels of vitamin D (defined as less than 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood serum) in elderly women could be linked to higher risks of global cognitive impairment at baseline; while less than 20 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter could be linked to cognitively-impaired women with a higher risk of incident global cognitive decline.

For the study by Annweiler's team, researchers analyzed data from 498 community-dwelling women who participated in the Toulouse cohort of the Epidemiology of Osteoporosis study.  The women in this study with Alzheimer's disease were found to have a lower baseline of vitamin D intake (an average of 50.3 micrograms per week) when compared to women with other dementias or with no dementia at all.

The reports of both of these studies come after another research published earlier this year, suggesting that men who are deficient on vitamin D could be at an increased risk of developing mobility limitations and disability.

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