Earlier this year, the incidence of Vitamin D deficiency has hit headlines in the UK because of the increased number of reported cases of Rickets. The incidence of Rickets has increased steadily over the last 15 years and currently Vit D supplements are recommended for at risk groups such as children under 5, pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as the elderly,dark-skinned individuals and individuals whose skin is rarely exposed to sunlight. The recommendation for Vit D intake is now being reconsidered in view of the latest reports.
Whilst it is a serious concern in the development of young children whose diets are inadequate or who do not get regular exposure to sunlight, a recent study has also found that Vitamin D insufficiency increases risk of developing Alzheimer´s Disease (AD) in the elderly. As the world population is growing older, this is a serious issue. The recent study looked at the VDR (Vitamin-D receptor) gene, which plays an important role in Vitamin D metabolism. In this study they looked at 492 late onset AD cases and 496 controls and found that the VDR gene confers a risk for the development of AD, which is consistent with finding from previous epidemiology studies which showed that Vitamin D insufficiency increases the risk for developing AD.
What does this mean in practice? here are my thoughts;
- If you fall within the at risk groups, take a supplement and review your diet to include Vit D fortified foods such as cereals, spreads,breads, dairy as well as fish ,liver and eggs
- If you have a Family History of AD or are not sure if you are at risk, discuss your lifestyle and diet with a qualified healthcare professional regarding supplementation,foods and monitoring of blood levels if necessary
- If you have children, make sure they get to play outside daily all year round, take a Vit D supplement and ensure a healthy balanced diet
- If you, your relatives or friends are not sure what the impact is of low Vitamin D levels on health, speak to a registered nutrition professional. Vitamin D is an essential hormone that plays various crucial roles in the body that are too important to ignore, take it seriously.
On a good note, Spring has arrived! so no excuses, dust off the bike and trainers and get exercising!
Vitamin D recepton and Alzheimer´s disease: a genetic and functional study.(click to read abstract)
Disclaimer: This is a blog and includes personal opinions of the author. The advice and tips are not intended to replace medical or nutritional advice received by your own Healthcare professional. For specific or medical advice on your health speak to your local physician