A doctor has said all adults should take one supplement every day after a new study found it can dramatically decrease risk of dementia.
It's widely known that taking vitamin D during the darker months of the year can help maintain healthy bones and a stronger immune system, but new evidence suggests further benefits, Gloucestershire Live reports. Research conducted in France found that individuals with low vitamin D levels were nearly three times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.
More than 60% of UK adults have what would be classed as low vitamin D levels.
Another study earlier this year, involving more than 12,000 people aged 70 and above who were free from dementia, indicated that supplements can be effective in reducing the risk of this condition. More than a third (37%) of the participants were taking vitamin D supplements and experienced a 40% decrease in the incidence of dementia.
Vitamin D expert Dr William Grant, advisor to the prevention charity foodforthebrain.org, claims people are still underestimating the power of the vitamin. He says: "All the evidence regarding cardiometabolic diseases, cancer, diabetes, infectious diseases and pregnancy outcomes shows that you need a blood level of vitamin D above 75 nmol/L to be healthy, and the same is proving true for the brain."
Supplementing with vitamin D is simple and cheap, though it is important to consult with your doctor before you make any drastic changes. Boots sells 180 tablets for £4.00, working out as around 2p per pill, while Holland and Barrett sells these high strength tablets in packs of 120 for £7.50
The NHS also recommends every adult should consider taking a vitamin D supplement between October and March, as our main source of the vitamin, the sun, is not as strong during these times. If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people, though those with darker skin typically need more.
While vitamin D is found in a small amount of foods, it likely you don't eat enough of them to reach a healthy level. Sources include:
- oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
- red meat
- egg yolks
- fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals
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