Posted on Jul 07, 2010, 6 a.m.
Seniors with sufficient blood levels of Vitamin D perform better on tests of cognitive performance.
In that a growing body of evidence suggests a broad range of health benefits of Vitamin D, Katherine Tucker, from Tufts University (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues studied the association between blood levels of Vitamin D (measured as 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D) and cognitive function. The team studied more than 1,000 men and women, ages 65 to 99 years, receiving home care, assessing vitamin D blood levels and conducting neuropsychological tests. Grouping the subjects by their Vitamin D status, which was categorized as deficient, insufficient, or sufficient, the researchers determined that only 35% had sufficient Vitamin D blood levels. These subjects scored higher on tests of cognitive performance, particularly on measures of "executive performance," such as cognitive flexibility, perceptual complexity, and reasoning, as compared to those in the deficient and insufficient categories. Noting that metabolic pathways for Vitamin D have been found in the hippocampus and cerebellum areas of the brain involved in planning, processing, and forming new memories, which may suggest that Vitamin D may be implicated in cognitive processes, the researchers conclude that: "[blood level of Vitamin D] was positively associated with cognitive performance, particularly with measures of executive function in this elderly population."
Jennifer S. Buell, Tammy M. Scott, Bess Dawson-Hughes, Gerard E. Dallal, Irwin H. Rosenberg, Marshal F. Folstein, Katherine L. Tucker. "Vitamin D Is Associated With Cognitive Function in Elders Receiving Home Health Services." J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2009 64A(8): 888-895; doi:10.1093/gerona/glp032.