If you’ve been reading ETR for any length of time, you probably already know at least a half-dozen reasons why you should be taking a vitamin D supplement. Bone health. Mood improvement. Physical performance. Vitamin D’s demonstrated anti-cancer effects. And if all that weren’t enough, a new study adds another benefit: cognitive performance.
In the study, to be published in the Journal of Geriatric Psychology and Neurology, researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan report an association between the risk of cognitive impairment in older folks and low levels of vitamin D.
More than 1,750 men and women 65 years or older were given neurocognitive tests. The testing revealed that 212 of the participants had cognitive impairment. The researchers then compared the vitamin D levels of those without cognitive impairment to those with cognitive impairment – and found that the risk of impairment significantly increased as vitamin D levels declined.
In fact, participants whose vitamin D levels were in the lowest 25 percent of the group had a whopping 2.28 times greater risk of cognitive impairment than those whose levels were in the top 25 percent. Since cognitive impairment is a major risk factor for developing dementia, anything you can do to lower your risk can help protect your brain for the long haul.
The best way to get adequate levels of vitamin D is through sun exposure. That means getting outside for about 10 to 20 minutes a day, three times a week – more often in the winter. I also personally recommend vitamin D supplements, about 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily. You can find vitamin D supplements at any health food store, even at Walmart.[Ed. Note: For more information about natural methods that can improve your health – and help keep your weight down – check out nutrition expert Jonny Bowden’s website, JonnyBowden.com.]