Vitamin Du Jour Vitamin D

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Vitamin D has garnered more publicity in recent months than any other vitamin. This week, The Money Times reports on a United Kingdom study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, claiming that deficiencies of this Sunshine Vitamin correlate with an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

It appears that the odds of cognitive impairment increase as vitamin D levels go down, which is consistent with the findings of previous European studies. Given that both vitamin D deficiency and dementia are common throughout the world, this is a major public health concern.

ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross says while this is an important hypothesis-generating study, it does not establish cause and effect. As quoted in the publication, low vitamin D levels may simply be a marker for lower health status rather than a cause of it. To test the hypothesis, we need a randomized controlled clinical trial of a large group of patients, some on vitamin D supplements and some not. The patients would then receive follow-up after five years, at which point the efficacy of the intervention to slow down or halt cognitive decline can be determined.