You know the healthy habits you need to adopt to protect your heart, but did you know that certain lifestyle changes can keep your brain healthy, reducing your risk of age-related disorders like dementia? They include diet, exercise and, according to a new study, making sure you’re getting enough of them. vitamin on a daily basis. Read on to learn more and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you’ve already had COVID.
According to a new study published in the Clinical Nutrition Journalhaving a low level of vitamin D is associated with a smaller brain volume and an increased risk of dementia and stroke, and almost 20% of cases of dementia could be prevented by maintaining the level of vitamin D in a healthy fork.
Researchers from the University of Australia analyzed health data from over 290,000 people in the UK Biobank, comparing vitamin D levels to brain imaging that measured the size of gray matter, white matter and the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for executive functions. like memory.
Scientists found that participants who had a genetically higher level of vitamin D had a decreased risk of dementia, with dementia risks decreasing with higher concentrations of the vitamin, up to 50 nmol/L, after which the benefits were less marked.
Scientists have long known the importance of vitamin D for overall health, including the immune system and bones. But less research has been done on the vitamin’s effect on the brain.
“Vitamin D is a hormone precursor whose large-scale effects, including on brain health, are increasingly recognized, but until now it has been very difficult to examine what would happen if we could prevent vitamin D deficiency,” said study leader Elina Hyppönen. main author. “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 among a large population.”
She added: “In some settings, where vitamin D deficiency is relatively common, our findings have important implications for dementia risk. Indeed, in this UK population, we observed that up to 17% of dementia cases could have been prevented by increasing vitamin D. levels are within a normal range. »
Low vitamin D levels and dementia are not uncommon in the United States. It is estimated that 40% of Americans have insufficient levels of the vitamin. And about 5.8 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related conditions, a number that is expected to increase as the population ages.
“Dementia is a progressive and debilitating disease that can devastate individuals and families,” Hyppönen said. “If we are able to change this reality by ensuring that none of us are seriously deficient in vitamin D, that 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.”
It’s a good idea to have your vitamin D levels checked annually by your doctor. If your levels are low, they might recommend a supplement. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults are advised to consume at least 600 IU of vitamin D daily, between food and supplements (although this number is somewhat controversial and some doctors believe it should be higher). raised). The NIH notes that the safe upper limit of vitamin D for adults is 4,000 IU per day.
And to protect your life and the lives of others, do not visit any of these 35 places where you are most likely to catch COVID.
Michael Martin is a New York-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview and many others. Read more