Vitamin D deficiency linked to increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
MIAMI (August 7, 2014) – Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in older people.
According to a study completed in collaboration with Dr. Paulo Chaves, associate professor and Leon Medical Center Chair in Geriatrics at FIU´s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, study participants who had severe vitamin D deficiency were more than twice as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The study showed that those moderately deficient in vitamin D had a 53 percent higher risk of developing dementia and for those who were severely deficient, the risk was 125 percent higher. Similar outcomes were observed for Alzheimer’s disease. Those that were moderately deficient were 69 percent more likely to develop this type of dementia while those who were severely deficient had 122 percent higher risk.
“Emerging evidence shows that vitamin D may contribute to health benefits beyond bone health. This study documented a clear association of vitamin D levels with cognition in older adults,” Chaves said. “Study results raise the important question regarding whether having proper vitamin D levels could help reduce the risk of dementia. Additional studies are needed to conclusively prove this.”
Worldwide, there are 44 million cases of Dementia, with the number expected to triple by 2050. It is estimated that a billion people have low vitamin D levels, which puts them at greater risk for health problems.
Chaves is also director of the Benjamin Leon Center for Geriatric Research and Education at FIU. The center is dedicated to advancing the understanding of active aging and the prevention of frailty-related decline in older adults through research and education initiatives.
For more information about the study, please click here.
About The FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine:
The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine was approved in 2006 by the Florida Board of Governors and the Florida Legislature, and in February 2013, the medical degree program received full accreditation from the Liaison Committee for Medical Education. The College graduated its inaugural class on April 29, 2013. Among the innovative elements of the HWCOM is a program called Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP™ that sends teams of medical students along with their counterparts in social work, nursing, and law into the community. The College of Medicine’s mission is to lead the next generation of medical education and improve the quality of health care available to the South Florida community. For more information visit http://medicine.fiu.edu/.
Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU is Worlds Ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. FIU has awarded 200,000 degrees and enrolls more than 50,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. FIU is a member of Conference USA and has 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.