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THE POWER OF SUNSHINE. If youâre worried about the possibility of dementia, make sure youâre topped up with vitamin D. Thatâs the finding of an ongoing study from the University of Calgaryâs Brain Institute in Canada, the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, and the U.S. National Alzheimerâs Coordinating Center.
More than 12,000 people participated in the study. The average age of participants was 71, and none had dementia when the study began. Slightly more than one-third of participants received vitamin D supplements. Researchers noted:
ââŠtaking vitamin D was associated with living dementia-free for longer, and they also found 40 percent fewer dementia diagnoses in the group who took supplementsâŠWhile Vitamin D was effective in all groups, the team found that effects were significantly greater in females, compared to males. Similarly, effects were greater in people with normal cognition, compared to those who reported signs of mild cognitive impairment â changes to cognition which have been linked to a higher risk of dementia.â
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. When you walk outside on a sunny day, ultraviolet rays from the sun interact with chemicals in your skin to produce the vitamin. The amount you produce depends on a variety of factors, including where you live, the time of day youâre outside, and your pigmentation, reported the Mayo Clinic.
About one billion people around the world are deficient in vitamin D. That number includes about 35 percent of the U.S. population. In the U.S., people who are older than age 65 and people who have darker skin are more likely to experience vitamin D deficits, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Having too little Vitamin D can be a significant health issue because it may play a role in preventing cancer, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, bone softness, muscle weakness, and osteoporosis. As people become more aware of the importance of vitamin D, the market for supplements is expected to grow.
Weekly Focus â Think About It
âThe first wealth is health.â
âRalph Waldo Emerson, essayist and philosopher