Vitamin D deficiency directly linked to dementia: genetic study

Dementia is one of the leading causes of disability and dependence among older people worldwide, and affects thinking and behavior as they get older. About 487,500 Australians live with dementia and it is the second leading cause of death in the country. But what if you could stop this degenerative disease in its tracks?

A new study from the University of South Australia could make this a reality, as new genetic research shows a direct link between dementia and a vitamin D deficiency

Investigating the association between vitamin D, neuroimaging functions and the risk of dementia and stroke, the study found:

  • Low levels of vitamin D were associated with lower brain volumes and an increased risk of dementia and stroke.
  • Genetic analyzes support a causal effect of vitamin D deficiency and dementia.
  • In some populations, as many as 17% of cases of dementia can be prevented by increasing everyone to normal levels of Vitamin D (50 nmol / L).

Supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council analyzed the genetic study data of 294,514 UK Biobank participants, examining the impact of low levels of vitamin D (25 nmol / L) and the risk of dementia and stroke.

Nonlinear Mendelian Randomization (MR) – a method of using measured variation in genes to investigate the causal effect of an altered exposure to disease – was used to test for underlying causality for neuroimaging results, dementia, and stroke.

Professor Elina Hyppönen, senior researcher and director of UniSA’s Australian Center for Precision Health, said the findings were important in preventing dementia and appreciating the need to eliminate vitamin D deficiency.

“Vitamin D is a hormone precursor that is increasingly recognized for widespread effects, including on brain health, but so far it has been very difficult to investigate what would happen if we could have vitamin D deficiency. prevent, “said Hyppönen.

“Our study is the first to investigate the effect of very low levels of vitamin D on the risks of dementia and stroke, using robust genetic analyzes among a large population,” said Hyppönen.

“In some contexts, where vitamin D deficiency is relatively common, our findings have significant implications for dementia risks. Indeed, in this UK population we have observed that up to 17% of dementia cases could be prevented by stimulating vitamin D deficiency. levels to be within a normal range.

“Dementia is a progressive and debilitating disease that can destroy individuals and families,” Hyppönen said.

“If we can change this reality by ensuring that none of us have a serious vitamin D deficiency, it would also have further benefits and we could change the health and well-being of thousands.

“Most of us are probably fine, but for anyone who, for whatever reason, may not be getting enough vitamin D from the sun, dietary adjustments may not be enough and supplementation may be necessary.”

Image Credit: © F. Young

Vitamin D deficiency directly linked to dementia: genetic study

Source link Vitamin D deficiency directly linked to dementia: genetic study

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