Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased dementia and stroke risk

Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for maintaining bone health and preventing conditions like osteoporosis. However, new research is beginning to suggest that vitamin D may also play a role in cognitive function and reducing the risk of dementia and stroke.

A recent study found that people with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to experience cognitive decline and have a greater risk of stroke. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Role of vitamin D in brain disorders

Vitamin D plays an important role in brain development and function. It is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and helps to regulate calcium levels in the brain. Vitamin D has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which may help to protect the brain from damage. 

The link between vitamin D deficiency and cognitive decline is not fully understood. However, it is thought that vitamin D may play a role in the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by affecting the way amyloid plaques and tau protein deposits build up in the brain. Vitamin D may also help to protect against stroke by reducing inflammation and improving blood vessel function.

Importance of vitamin D in our body 

Vitamin D is essential for our body in many ways. 

  • It helps to regulate calcium levels and phosphorous, which are important for bone health. 
  • Vitamin D is an important nutrient for maintaining bone health and preventing conditions like osteoporosis. 
  • Vitamin D also plays a role in the immune system, helping to protect our body against infection and disease.
  • Vitamin D can be obtained from food sources, such as oily fish, eggs and fortified milk. However, our body also produces vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. 

Deficiency 

Vitamin D deficiency is common, particularly in older adults. This is because our body’s ability to produce vitamin D decreases with age. Other risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include living in a northern latitude, having dark skin and being obese. 

The hazards that vitamin D deficiency can cause are many and varied. As well as an increased risk of cognitive decline and stroke, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and multiple sclerosis. 

Vitamin D supplementation 

If you are deficient in vitamin D, your doctor may recommend vitamin D supplements. The recommended daily dose of vitamin D is 600 IU (15 micrograms) for adults. 

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it can be stored in the body. This means that you don’t need to take it every day. However, it’s still important to get your vitamin D levels checked regularly by your doctor, as too much vitamin D can be toxic. 

Sources of vitamin D

Vitamin D can be obtained from food sources, such as oily fish, eggs and fortified milk. However, our body also produces vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. 

Food sources of vitamin D include: 

  • Oily fish – such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines 
  • Eggs 
  • Fortified milk – such as cow’s milk, soy milk and almond milk 
  • Fortified cereals 
  • Mushrooms 

Conclusion 

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for maintaining bone health and preventing conditions like osteoporosis. However, new research is beginning to suggest that vitamin D may also play a role in cognitive function and reducing the risk of dementia and stroke. If you are deficient in vitamin D, your doctor may recommend supplements. However, it’s still important to get your vitamin D levels checked regularly by your doctor, as too much vitamin D can be toxic.

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