Two new studies show that vitamin D may be a vital nutrient for the cognitive health of women as they age.
Higher vitamin D intake is associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to research conducted by scientists at the Angers University Hospital in France.
Similarly, investigators at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis found that low vitamin D levels among older women are associated with higher odds of cognitive impairment and a higher risk of cognitive decline.
The American group based its analysis on 6,257 community-dwelling older women who had vitamin D levels measured during the Study of Osteopathic Fractures and whose cognitive function was tested by the Mini-Mental State Examination and/or Trail Making Test Part B.
Very low levels of vitamin D (less than 10 nanograms per milliliter or 25 nmol/L of blood serum) among older women were associated with higher odds of cognitive impairment at baseline, and low vitamin D levels (less than 20 nanograms per milliliter or 50 nmol/L) among cognitively-impaired women were associated with a higher risk of cognitive decline, as measured by performance on the Mini-Mental State Examination.
The French team's findings were based on data from 498 community-dwelling women who participated in the Toulouse cohort of the Epidemiology of Osteoporosis study.
Among this population, women who developed Alzheimer's disease had lower vitamin D intakes (an average of 50.3 micrograms per week) than those who developed other dementias (an average of 63.6 micrograms per week) or no dementia at all (an average of 59.0 micrograms per week).
SOURCE: Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, December 2012
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