Discovery of the first direct link with vitamin D

The sun could ward off dementia and strokes after scientists showed a direct link between vitamin D and the conditions in a world-first study.

A new study based on Britons has said cases of dementia could fall by nearly a fifth if people who are deficient in the vitamin take supplements to bring them back to healthy levels,

It is known as the sunshine vitamin because the skin makes it when exposed to light.

The team from the University of South Australia screened nearly 300,000 people from the UK Biobank looking at the impact of low vitamin D levels and the risk of dementia and stroke.

They found that low vitamin D levels were associated with lower brain volumes and an increased risk of dementia and stroke.

Further genetic analyzes have supported a causal effect of vitamin D deficiency and dementia.

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They said that in some populations, up to 17% of dementia cases could be prevented by increasing normal levels of vitamin D.

Dementia is one of the leading causes of disability and dependency in older people worldwide, affecting thinking and behaviors as you age.

Globally, more than 55 million people have dementia and 10 million new cases are diagnosed each year. With no cure in sight, there is an increasing focus on preventative behaviors.

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect more than 920,000 people in the UK, a figure that will rise to two million over the next three decades.

Study author Professor Elina Hyppönen, senior researcher and director of UniSA’s Australian Center for Precision Health, said the findings are important for the prevention of dementia and for appreciating the need to abolish vitamin D deficiency.

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“In this UK population, we observed that up to 17% of dementia cases could have been prevented by increasing vitamin D levels to within a normal range,” she said.

“Our study is the first to examine the effect of very low levels of vitamin D on the risk of dementia and stroke, using robust genetic analyzes in a large population.

“Vitamin D is a hormone precursor that is increasingly recognized for its widespread effects, including on brain health, but until now it has been very difficult to examine what would happen if we could prevent vitamin D deficiency. vitamin D.

“In some settings, where vitamin D deficiency is relatively common, our findings have important implications for dementia risk.

“Dementia is a progressive and debilitating disease that can devastate individuals and families.

“If we are able to change this reality by ensuring that none of us are seriously deficient in vitamin D, this would also have other benefits and we could change the health and well-being of thousands of people. .

“Most of us are probably fine, but for anyone who, for whatever reason, is not getting enough vitamin D from sunlight, dietary changes may not be enough and supplementation may be necessary.”

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The genetic study analyzed data from 294,514 participants from the UK Biobank, examining the impact of low levels of vitamin D (25 nmol/L) and the risk of dementia and stroke.

Nonlinear Mendelian (MR) randomization – a method of using measured variation in genes to examine the causal effect of modifiable exposure on disease – was used to test the underlying causality of neuroimaging findings , dementia and stroke.

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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