Reduced Vitamin D Associated With Decreased Cognitive Function

Reduced vitamin D associated with decreased cognitive function

Reduced vitamin D associated with decreased cognitive function

Tuesday, June 11, 2013. In an article published online on May 29, 2013 in the journal Ageing Research Reviews, researchers from The Netherlands report an association between reduced serum levels or intake of vitamin D and a greater risk of cognitive decline.

For their review, M. H. Emmelot-Vonk and colleagues at University Medical Center Utrecht selected 25 cross-sectional studies (which examine a specific population at one point in time) and six prospective studies (which follow a group of subjects over a given period of time) that examined the association between vitamin D status and cognition. The cross-sectional studies included a total of 48,680 men and women, and the prospective studies included 10,896 subjects who were followed for 4 to 7 years.

In 18 out of the 25 cross-sectional studies, reduced vitamin D intake or serum levels were associated with decreased cognitive function as determined by test scores, or an increased risk of dementia in comparison with participants with higher levels. Among the prospective studies, reduced vitamin D serum levels or intake were associated with decreased cognitive function or a higher incidence of dementia in four of the six studies. Overall, 71% of the studies found an association between reduced vitamin D status and decreased cognitive function. No studies found a negative effect for improved vitamin D status on cognition.

"This systematic review pointed out that the majority of the cross-sectional as well as prospective studies found that hypovitaminosis D is associated with a statistically significant worse outcome on one or more cognitive function tests or a higher frequency of dementia," the authors conclude. "Further studies should focus on the role of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention of cognitive decline in participants with low vitamin D levels."

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Vitamin D may protect against the development of uterine fibroids

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The May, 2013 issue of the journal Epidemiology published an article which reports the finding of vitamin D researcher Bruce W. Hollis and his colleagues of a lower risk of uterine fibroid tumors in women with sufficient levels of vitamin D.

The study evaluated 620 African American and 416 Caucasian women between the ages of 35 to 49 who were enrolled in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Uterine Fibroid Study. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured in blood samples collected upon enrollment and ultrasound examinations ascertained the presence and size of fibroids.

Insufficient vitamin D levels were found in 90 percent of African American and 50 percent of Caucasian participants. Subjects with sufficient serum levels of the vitamin, which the researchers classified as 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) or higher, had a 32 percent lower risk of having fibroids in comparison with those whose levels were sufficient. Each 10 ng/mL increase in vitamin D was associated with a 20 percent reduction in fibroid risk. The reduction in risk was similar for small and large fibroids, and for African Americans and Caucasians. Sun exposure of at least an hour per day was also associated with a lower risk of the condition.

The authors remark that treatment of cultures of human uterine fibroid tissue with a form of vitamin D results in decreased cell proliferation accompanied by inhibition of molecular pathways for fibrosis. They conclude that the current findings provide evidence for a causal relationship between sufficient vitamin D and protection against fibroids that warrants further investigation.

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