Vitamin D and Dementia

You may have seen reports in today's media that a study has suggested that older people who have a severe vitamin D deficiency have an increased risk of developing dementia. Experts are saying that it is too early to say that elderly people should take a vitamin D supplement as a preventative treatment. They are also saying that it is still unclear if being deficient in vitamin D can cause dementia as there could be another unknown factor at play. However, we know that many of you aged 65 and over may be interested to know why older people are at risk and what you can do to ensure you are getting enough of this vital vitamin. Most of our vitamin D comes from sunlight on our skin with the vitamin being made by our body in reaction to summer sunlight. The vitamin is also found in a small number of foods with good sources being: oily fish (salmon, mackerel and sardines), fortified fat spreads, fortified breakfast cereals and powdered milk. Older people’s skin can be less efficient at converting sunlight into vitamin D and this is why they are more likely to be deficient and more reliant on other sources. If you are older you may also be more likely to be taking sensible precautions during sunny weather and either staying indoors or covering up. Sensible advice would seem to be, as ever, ensure you have a healthy, balanced diet.