Sunshine could ward off dementia and strokes after scientists have shown a direct link between vitamin D and the conditions, in a world-first study.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, analyzed data from 294,514 participants from the UK Biobank, examining the impact of low levels of vitamin D and the risk of dementia and stroke.
It revealed that cases of dementia could drop by nearly a fifth if people who were deficient in the vitamin took supplements to bring them up to healthy levels.
Researchers found that low levels of vitamin D were associated with lower brain volumes and an increased risk of dementia and stroke. Further genetic analyses supported a causal effect of vitamin D deficiency and dementia.
They said that in some populations as much as 17 percent of dementia cases might be prevented by increasing everyone to normal levels of vitamin D.
Globally, more than 55 million people have dementia with 10 million new cases diagnosed every year. With no cure in sight, there is an increasing focus on preventative behaviours.
Study author Professor Elina Hyppönen, Senior investigator and Director of UniSA’s Australian Centre for Precision Health, said the findings are important for the prevention of dementia and appreciating the need to abolish vitamin D deficiency.
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