Vitamin D deficiency linked to cognitive decline among older adults

Results of a new study suggest that low levels of vitamin D are associated with accelerated cognitive decline among older adults. The longitudinal multiethnic cohort study included nearly 400 older adults at an outpatient clinic enrolled between 2002 and 2010.

Results of a new study suggest that low levels of vitamin D are associated with accelerated cognitive decline among older adults. The longitudinal multiethnic cohort study included nearly 400 older adults at an outpatient clinic enrolled between 2002 and 2010. Vitamin D status was measured and defined as either deficient (less than 12 ng/mL), insufficient (12 to less than 20 ng/mL), adequate (20 to less than 50 ng/mL), or high (50 ng/mL or higher). According to the data, about 26% of the participants were considered deficient and 35% were considered insufficient. The researchers note there were racial/ethnicity differences as well as differences among those with dementia compared with those with mild cognitive impairment and cognitively normal individuals. They add, "Independent of race or ethnicity, baseline cognitive ability, and a host of other risk factors, VitD insufficiency was associated with significantly faster declines in both episodic memory and executive function performance, which may correspond to elevated risk for incident [Alzheimer disease] dementia." It is not yet known whether vitamin D supplementation can help delay cognitive decline.