Mental health: a new study suggests that a lack of vitamin D is risky for the brain

Genetic analyzes supported a causal effect of vitamin D deficiency and dementia; In some populations, even 17% of dementia cases could be prevented by increasing vitamin D levels in all cases (50 nmol/L), according to the findings of this investigation.


Dementia is a chronic or progressive syndrome that leads to deterioration in cognitive function, intellect, behavior, and the ability to perform activities of daily living. Globally, more than 55 million people have dementia and 10 million new cases are diagnosed each year. Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, accounts for between 60% and 70% of cases.

The genetic study analyzed data from 294,514 UK Biobank participants, examining the impact of low vitamin D levels (25 nmol/L) and the risk of dementia and stroke. Nonlinear Mendelian randomization (RM), a method that uses measured variation in genes, was used to examine the causal effect of a modifiable exposure on disease. to check the underlying causality of neuroimaging results, dementia and stroke.

Principal Investigator and Director of the Australian Center for Precision Health at the University of South Australiathe teacher Elina Hippönenstates that the results are important for the prevention of dementia and to appreciate the need to abolish vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is a hormone precursor that is increasingly recognized as having widespread effects, including on brain healthbut until now it has been very difficult to examine what would happen if we could prevent vitamin D deficiency. Our study is the first to examine the effect of very low vitamin D levels on dementia and stroke risks.using robust genetic analyzes among a large population,” Hyppönen notes.

In some settings, where vitamin D deficiency is relatively common, these findings “have important implications for dementia risks.” “In fact, in this UK population we observed that up to 17% of dementia cases could have been prevented by increasing vitamin D levels to within a normal range“, emphasizes the researcher.

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