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Vitamin D helps brain function in older adults

Doctors know that low levels of vitamin D impair the function of the brain but wanted to understand how quickly these changes take place.

In this study, doctors measured vitamin D levels in 382 men and women of white, African-American, and Hispanic ethnicities, average age 75. About half the participants had normal brain function, one third were mildly impaired, and just under one in five had a diagnosis of dementia. Over five years of follow-up, those who were deficient in vitamin D at the start of the study saw cognitive declines two to three times faster than those who began with adequate levels of vitamin D. Discussing the findings, doctors said, “We expected to see declines in those with low levels of vitamin D, but were surprised how profoundly and rapidly low levels of vitamin D impact cognition.”

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