Scientists have recently debunked the idea that taking vitamin supplements is good for you. But it’s a multi-million pound industry so people obviously believe in the dubious advertising claims.
New research has found that people with low levels of vitamin D are twice as likely to develop dementia. Going out in the sunshine and eating oily fish could cut the risk.
The experts are urging clinical trials to see whether vitamin D supplements can prevent dementia.
More than half of elderly people in Britain are thought to be deficient in vitamin D so this type of research could have a significant impact on public health.
David Llewellyn at the University of Exeter medical school who led the study says “The potential for making a difference is enormous. (our research) suggests vitamin D helps the blood supply to the brain and helps to clear out the protein tangles (thought to cause Alzheimer’s disease)”.
The international team studied 1,600 healthy Americans aged over 65 who had their vitamin D levels tested over five and a half years. They found that those with a slight deficiency of vitamin D had a 53% higher chance of developing dementia and those with a serious deficiency a 125% higher risk according to their report in the Neurology journal.
Dr Llewellyn said the research was supported by findings that people living in northern parts of Scotland and Scandinavia were more likely to get dementia than those living in sunnier southern climates.
So we were told to stay out of the sun to avoid skin cancer but it seems a bit of sun on our backs might be good for us in the long run.
Previous research has shown that sunlight is good for our eyesight too.