Vit D's Link to Dementia

The Science page in THE WEEK, Sept 5th, reports on the link between low VitD levels and dementia.

In a large group of people, 1,658 men and women, it was found that those with Vit D levels at or below 25 (nanomoles per liter) had twice the risk of developing Alzheimer's or dementia than those with 50 (n/liter) or higher.  Those with levels between 25 - 50 were 1 1/2 times as likely to develop these diseases. (perfect math)

Here's what's interesting:
two things:
1.  During the past 10 years of my practice, I've asked people to get their VitD levels checked.  When they come back to me with their score, if it's at 30 or above the doctor says:  "you're fine." 
Every single one.  Not one MD has said:  "You need to get those levels to above 50."  
2.  This article is interesting in that it did not ask participants if they were taking a  Vit D supplement.  So we don't know if these folks who were lucky enough to have high levels (over 50) were taking a supplement or lying in the back yard naked for 20 min every day at noon.  (that's the only other way to raise vit D levels if you don't take a supplement.

People ask me:  WHY?  Why are our levels so low?  We live in a very sunny place!!  My answer is that we basically live indoors and when we're outside we slather with sunscreen so no possible amt of Vit D can enter your body.

I always start people (who have levels under 50) on a 4,000 or 5,000 iu capsule per day and have them retest in 6 mo.  It usually won't move towards the higher levels until you take this much for some time.  Once you reach 80 - 100, then I ask them to back it down to 3x per week instead of daily.  Or just 3 on the weekend, all at once, as it is cumulative, not water soluble.  (note, the dose is 4 or 5thousand not the typical 400 iu you might find in a multiple or bone-builder calcium supplement.

Here is the final sentence of the article:  "We can't say anything about whether people should be supplementing with Vit D because that's beyond the scope of what we looked at."

Are you kidding?  Since there is no risk associated with levels below 100 and it cost pennies a day, what would be the harm in sort of guessing that this nutrient might be important if we don't have time for the naked sunbath every day?

Besides Alzheimer's and dementia, Vit D is the basis of a well-functioning immune system.  Higher levels are also associated with less disease of all kinds, even auto-immune diseases like MS and lupus.

Get naked or take your vit D!  (and be sure to have it checked!)

Mary Anne Robinson, MS Bio-Nutrition
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