Get Some Sun to Ward off Alzheimer’s

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Getting some sun can help your brain.Two new health breakthroughs have shown that aging women may need vitamin D to keep their minds strong. In essence, the studies showed that getting more vitamin D is linked with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The reverse was also true—women with low vitamin D levels had higher odds of cognitive impairment and cognitive decline. These findings add more evidence to the wave of findings that vitamin D is essential to overall health.

One report looked at more than 6,200 older women whose vitamin D levels were measured as part of a study on bone fractures. The researchers found that very low vitamin D levels —they defined very low as less than 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood—were linked to greater risk of cognitive impairment. Similarly, low levels (less than 20 nanograms) were also linked to cognitive decline.

The second report focused on 500 women in an osteoporosis study. Women in the study who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease had lower reported intakes of vitamin D (an average of 50 fewer micrograms a week) than women who contracted other types of dementia, or who did not report any problems. The researchers came to two conclusions: there may be a link between vitamin D and dementia in general, and a more significant link between vitamin D and dementia’s most prevalent form—Alzheimer’s.

The easiest way to keep vitamin D levels up is to get 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun each day. When that is not possible, take a supplement of at least 1,000 international units a day.

Sources for Today’s Articles:
Get Some Sun to Ward off Alzheimer’s
Annweiler, C., et al., “Higher Vitamin D Dietary Intake Is Associated With Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease: A 7-Year Follow-up,” J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2012; 67(11).

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