Vitamin D has long been known to carry many health benefits. From the promise of stronger bones and lowered risk or periodontal disease and now right on to a decreased risk of dementia–we have all been told on more than one occasion to drink our milk! Now, UCLA has conducted an experiment and found that Vitamin D as well as a particular chemical found in turmeric called curcumin could aid in the prevention and the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
The study found that those with Alzheimer’s disease have a deficiency of the Vitamin D3 which is naturally given off by the sun and synthesized through the skin. During the winter months as well as for people who do not go outside very much this deficiency has become increasingly common. This study also found that Vitamin D when in appropriate amounts within the body will help aid the brain in fighting amyloid beta which is the tell tale plaque former that eventually results in Alzheimer’s disease.
So can increased Vitamin D aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias? With this study, although there are no final conclusions being made as of yet, the chances are that an increase in the Vitamin D intake throughout the younger years as well as a boost for adults over 60 may be a good preventative technique for certain dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. A study done in Europe and reported in Alzheimer’s Weekly showed that lower levels of the Vitamin D were associated with a decrease in brain performance which could thus lead to dementia.
Food Sources that are High in Vitamin D:
So what foods should you eat to help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias? Finding foods that are rich in Vitamin D is not always easy since the Food and Drug Administration does not require the Vitamin D content of a food to be listed on food labels unless the food has been fortified with the Vitamin. However, these foods have more than 20% of the daily value of Vitamin D for children over 4 to adults thus making them all considered high sources of this vital nutrient–Cod Liver Oil, Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, Sardines and of course Milk!
Like your mother always said–Drink Your Milk. If you know someone who already suffers from a form of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, increasing Vitamin D amounts in their diet could not only help reduce the effects of the dementia and if not it may at least prolong the current status rather than allowing the dementia to get worse. UCLA doctors agree that a healthy diet is still the best key to reduced dementia risk over the lifetime.
Vitamin D May Maintain Performance, Alzheimer’s Weekly, www.AlzheimersWeekly.com
Vitamin D, Curcumin may Help Clear Amyloid Plaques Found in Alzheimer’s, UCLA, www.newsroom.UCLA.edu