Link Between Vitamin D and Dementia Risk Confirmed

Vitamin D deficiency has been known to be associated with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in elderly people, but until very recently, it was not known to what extent this correlation existed. In the most comprehensive study of its kind, led by Dr. David Llewellyn at the University of Exeter Medical School, the international team of researchers followed a set of healthy adults, age 65 and over, for 6 years to observe who developed some form of dementia and who did not. It was ensured that the adults in the sample could walk without aid and had no history of dementia, cardiovascular disease, or stroke.

The study yielded concerning results, consisting of more than a 50% increase in chances of developing dementia of any kind in people with moderate vitamin D deficiencies. However, in severe cases of deficiency, the risk of dementia nearly tripled to a staggering 125% chance of eventually developing. Though the link between low levels of vitamin D and dementia was to be expected, the staggering numbers of correlation turned out to be twice as much as what was anticipated.

With dementia weighing in at 44 million cases worldwide, it stands as one of the greatest challenges to our health in this day and age. Not to mention, this number is expected to triple by the year 2050 due to the tremendous amount of people in the world still struggling with low levels of vitamin D. Previous studies have explored the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and cognitive problems, but this study is the first to dig deep into the specific connection between such a deficiency and specifically the risk of dementia. In response to these results, the study supplements its observations with commentary on the importance of sufficient vitamin D intake and dementia prevention.

References (click to show/hide)

  1. Thomas J. Littlejohns, MSc, William E. Henley, PhD, Iain A. Lang, PhD, Cedric Annweiler, MD, et al. Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease. Neurology September 2, 2014 vol. 83 no. 10 920-928.
  2. Press Release: Study: Link Between Vitamin D and Dementia Risk Confirmed


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