NMU 279 – Vitamin D supplements Linked to Decreased Dementia Risk
Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 279 (March 15, 2023)
with Dr. James Meschino
Topic: Vitamin D supplements Linked to Decreased Dementia Risk
Source: Journal Alzheimer’s & dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring. March 1, 2023
A study published on March 1st,2023 in the journal Alzheimer’s and dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, showed that taking a daily vitamin D supplement is strongly associated with staving off dementia in older adults. Researchers found taking a vitamin D supplement was associated with living dementia-free much longer, and there were 40% fewer cases of dementia reported in those who frequently took vitamin D supplements compared to those who did not. The effects appeared to more significant in women than men. The researchers followed 12,388 participants of the US National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center for 10 years, who had an average age of 71 and were dementia-free at the start of the study. The study showed that taking a vitamin D supplement (in any form) was associated with living dementia-free for a longer period of time, and there were 40 percent fewer dementia cases diagnosed in the group who took vitamin supplements during the 10-year follow up period.
The effects of vitamin D were also significantly greater in people who did not carry the APOEe4 gene, which is known to present a higher risk for Alzheimer’s dementia, compared to non-carriers. So, in people who carry the APOe4 gene, vitamin D supplementation appeared to be less protective against Alzheimer’s disease. Some experts believe that the APOe4 gene makes if more difficult to absorb vitamin D from the gut, but that is still speculation at this point. Previous studies have shown that higher vitamin D blood levels and use of vitamin D supplements are associated with protection against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. So, this study helps to reinforce some previous evidence. Vitamin D supplements are great, but certainly they are not the whole answer to the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. But overall, studies suggest that vitamin D is one more piece or the puzzle in the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Regarding supplements associated with the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, as I’ve stated many times, during all adult life you should consider taking two, 1200 mg capsules of lecithin each day (rich in choline) as well as a high potency multiple vitamin and mineral (antioxidant enriched, B-50 complex and 1,000 IU of vitamin D), and an essential fatty acid supplement that contains fish oil. After age 55, studies suggest that adding a memory support supplement that contains CDP-choline, Phosphatidylserine, Huperzine A and Bacopa monnieri, also makes good sense. Certain medicinal mushrooms, such as lion’s mane have also shown promise in preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia, as has the golden mushroom, oyster mushroom, shiitake mushroom and white button mushroom. The consumption of dried and canned mushrooms had also been associated with decreased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. In fact, many mushrooms contain active constituents such as ergothioneine (ET) and hericene A that are shown to support brain cell survival, brain cell growth and new brain cell network connections, especially in the area of the brain where memory is consolidated (the hippocampus). So, it’s no surprise that regular consumption of mushrooms is associated with better cognitive function in aging. So, the March 2023 research I’m citing today regarding the use of vitamin D supplements in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, should be viewed as an important part of a bigger story. Of course, other factors also help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease risk and dementia, such as not smoking, being a lifelong learner, exercising, keeping our your cholesterol, homocysteine and blood pressure readings in the ideal range. But the importance of nutritional supplements and brain-supporting mushrooms should also be part of your Alzheimer’s and dementia prevention program, in my view.
I have included the March 2023 reference for the vitamin D study in the text below, as well as references for brain-supporting mushrooms in the prevention of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Ghahremani M. et al. Vitamin D supplementation and the incident dementia: Effects of sex, APOE, and baseline cognitive status. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring. March 1, 2023 https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/dad2.12404
Taking vitamin D could help prevent dementia. Neurosciencenews.com: https://neurosciencenews.com/vitamin-d-dementia-22684/
Mori K et al. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitaki (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairments: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009; 23 (3): 367-72. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18844328/
Lei Feng, Irwin Kee-Mun Cheah, Maisie Mei-Xi Ng, Jialiang Li, Sue Mei Chan, Su Lin Lim, Rathi Mahendran, Ee-Heok Kua, Barry Halliwell. The Association between Mushroom Consumption and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Community-Based Cross-Sectional Study in Singapore. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2019. 10.3233/JAD-180959
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