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Eldercare Services Recommend Learning about Brain Function & Vitamin D

Jan 25, 2018 by Alan White

You may know Vitamin D as the sunshine vitamin. However, over the years, you and your loved one may have been cautious about exposure to the sun’s rays – whether you’re concerned about heatstroke, skin cancer, or something else. This can lead to lower levels of Vitamin D, which modern science has linked to an increase in the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Eldercare services know that keeping up with daily vitamin intake is necessary to keep your loved one happy and healthy. Today we’re going to discuss how vitamin D is tied to brain health, and how your loved one can get the right amount every day.

A study in September 2014 showed that seniors with severe vitamin D deficiencies were more than twice as likely to develop a form of dementia than seniors with appropriate vitamin D levels. Seniors with milder vitamin D deficiencies were still more than 50% likely to develop a form of dementia. Eldercare services also know that vitamin D is tied to brain function outside of dementia. A study in November 2015 correlated lack of vitamin D with a decline in cognitive function, even among people with similar age, sex, education, ethnicity, and BMI. Vitamin D also controls proteins in the brain that are involved in nerve growth, and some early lab tests suggest that it protects the brain’s neurons as well.

Vitamin D is an important vitamin, but how do you get it? Experts recommend adults get 600 IU of vitamin D, or 800 IU if they are 71 or older, each day. But doctors don’t recommend relying solely on the sun, because of the ever-present risk of skin cancer. You and your loved one can supplement your vitamin D intake with specific foods and dietary supplements. Eldercare services recommends the following foods so your loved one can have some vitamin D in their diet:

  • Fatty fish such as tuna or salmon
  • Fortified foods, such as many types of breakfast foods. Milk, soy milk, yogurt, orange guide, and some cereals are commonly fortified
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks
  • Beef liver

If you are worried that your loved one doesn’t have enough vitamin D in his or her diet, they can take supplements. Most multivitamins contain about 400 IU of vitamin D, but if your loved one isn’t eating vitamin-D-rich foods and isn’t spending time outside, a dedicated vitamin D supplement is better.

If your loved one is looking for help shopping and preparing meals, Comfort Keepers can help. Reach out today to learn more about our home care services.

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