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To Worry (Or Not) About Vitamin D and ALZ

We continue to hear more confirmation from research that low levels of Vitamin D are linked to increased risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The buzz is so strong it has sent many of us to the doctor just to have our blood work checked, and others to the local GNC store to stock up on D3 and other supplements just to be sure. While it’s too early to tell if replacement therapy alone reverses the odds, it has been validated that individuals with low levels of Vitamin D experience Alzheimer’s disease double the rate of those who are at normal levels.

The real quandary is that seniors are generally a high risk population for Vitamin D deficiency based on typical lifestyle changes that occur as we age. Some of the primary sources of Vitamin D include sunlight, fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, egg yolks, beef liver and cheese. Many of these things are considered bad for us, so we remove them to prevent other health issues such as skin cancers and high cholesterol.

Vitamin D plays an important role in the brain, and there are many receptors for this golden substance throughout our brain including a special area known as the hippocampus which helps with memory function. Vitamin D is also thought to help clear amyloid plaques which we know build up in the presence of Alzheimer’s disease. We must find alternative ways to keep our Vitamin D levels within normal limits throughout the aging process.

We do not know if low levels of Vitamin D cause Alzheimer’s disease. What we do know is that our risks increase when this condition is present, and therefore we should monitor this simple blood value as part of our routine check ups, taking caution to keep the values within normal limits. By doing what we can today, we build hope for tomorrow.

Posted in Perspectives on Alzheimer's on June 16, 2015

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