Are you getting enough vitamin D? Here's a reason why you might want to make it a priority:
A research team has found a link between older adults with vitamin D deficits and dementia. Experts from the University of Exeter Medical School analyzed health data from more than 1,600 American seniors. They noted that people in the study had a 53 percent increased risk of dementia if they were moderately lacking in vitamin D. Subjects with a severe deficiency of the vitamin were at an even higher risk - 125 percent.
You can read more about the study in this article on Yahoo Health.
Why is vitamin D so important? Not only is it a vital part of bone health, neuromuscular communication and immunity, it also acts as an "on" and "off" switch for many genes, according to the Yahoo Health story. In fact, it is linked to the activity of 1,000 genes, the article states.
Where do we get vitamin D? Exposure to sun, for one. Of course this is a tricky one, because overexposure to sun can damage skin tissue and is linked to skin cancer. And vegetarians and vegans may have difficulty boosting their intake through food sources, because most of the commonly known ones are animal sources.
The National Institutes of Health lists top sources including:
So vegetarians and vegans, your best bet might be to include mushrooms in your meals more often and get regular exposure to sunlight, in safe doses. And sitting by the window typing a blog post doesn't count, apparently. Health experts say sunlight that comes through a window will not cause the body to produce vitamin D. Darn it.
You can read more about vitamin D on this consumer health sheet from the NIH.