Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

An estimated 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) last year. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and kills more people than breast and prostate cancer combined. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, AD is the ONLY cause of death in the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed. AD and other types of dementias costed the nation $226 billion, and by 2050, the number will rise as high as $1.1 trillion. Two thirds of Americans with AD are women, and 55% of people with AD are NOT told of their diagnosis. Aren’t these facts scary enough for you? I am very scared.

People with AD suffer a variety of symptoms which affect their day-to-day life. These symptoms include memory loss, problems with sleep, poor judgement, problems speaking and even paranoia.

So what causes Alzheimer’s disease? Unfortunately, we are not sure what causes it, but scientists found out that the development of plaques and tangles in the brain is the major factor in AD. Plaques are clusters of protein that build up between the nerve cells in the brain, which stop cells from signaling to each other. Tangles are dead or dying nerve cells. They prevent nutrients from moving through the cells, causing them to die.

They also found the link between low level of vitamin D in the body and AD. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin responsible for enhancing absorption of many important minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. A diet deficiency in vitamin D increases a risk of bone and muscle weakness, cardiovascular disease, severe asthma in children and even cancer. Researchers also found that vitamin D helps clear plaques in the brain, which is a hallmark of AD. The risk of cognitive impairment is up to 4 times greater in the individuals with severely low vitamin D (less than 25nmol/L) in comparison with those with adequate levels (> 75nmon/L). Other study shows that in people with AD, there are fewer vitamin D receptors in hippocampus—a part of the brain involved in forming memories. Vitamin D binds to these receptors in the brain and influencing the way we think, learn and act.

Vitamin D can be obtained from foods and sun exposure. Foods that are high in vitamin D, such as fatty fish, beef liver, nuts, cheese, egg yolks and mushrooms help raise the blood level. If you follow a strict vegan diet, you need to be particularly cautious since most of the natural sources are animal-based. Exposure to sunlight helps the body make vitamin D. If you are homebound, live in northern latitudes or use sunscreen everyday, you have to make an extra effort to go outside and get enough sunlight. Vitamin D level may still be low even with a proper diet and sun exposure. In this case, supplementation is required to reach the goal.

How much foods and sunlight do we need in order to get enough vitamin D in the body? Chiropractors can help you find out. Nutrition is one of the core curriculum in Chiropractic college, and most states requires nutrition education to be included in the continuing education (less than half of all U.S. medical schools require the minimum credit hours recommended by the National Academy of Sciences). Please remember that excess intake of vitamin D may cause vitamin D toxicity, so you should consult with your chiropractor to keep the level adequate all the time. Please contact us at (201) 496-6066 or send us a message from Contact Us page.


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