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Researchers Find Correlation Between Vitamin D And Cognitive Decline Surprising

Researchers Find Correlation Between Vitamin D And Cognitive Decline Surprising

The idea of a cognitive decline is not something most people enjoy thinking about, let alone looking into. However, researchers have uncovered a surprising link between Vitamin D deficiency and the rate of cognitive decline in the later stages of life.

The study, presented by ScienceDaily, from the joint team efforts of the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center and Rutgers University researchers has found a significant link between the levels of vitamin D intake and the rate of cognitive decline among selected populations. The research found that older individuals who have much lower levels of vitamin D intake were three times more likely to develop stronger symptoms of cognitive decline.

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What is the reasoning behind this shocking acceleration of cognitive decline? According to the research team, melanin levels in the skin appear to have some correlation with the rate of decline.

This research has startling and interesting implications for the American-based researchers, particularly when it comes to the kind of findings inferred for Hispanic/Latin individuals and African-American individuals. As the researchers pointed out in their findings, people with darker skin tones receive less vitamin D from sunlight due to the stronger levels of melanin in their skin. Melanin, the chemical within the skin that causes the skin to tan and darken, and which also prevents the body from synthesizing vitamin D as effectively, is naturally more present within individuals with darker skin tones (such as African-American and Hispanic/Latin individuals), meaning that they may be more likely to have lower vitamin D levels and therefore be at further risk of an accelerated decline of cognitive faculties.

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The question remains: what is it about Vitamin D that seems to help slow down cognitive decline in older individuals? Vitamin D has been linked intrinstically to the absorption of essential calcium into the body, and it also has benefits in preventing conditions such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults (both are conditions in which the bones become softened, generally through a vitamin D deficiency).

In addition, African-American and Hispanic/Latin individuals are among the racial groups in the United States less likely to consume the recommended amount of dairy products rich in vitamin D, which would, in theory, help to boost levels of the vitamin. The study found that, after speaking to the 50% of African-American and Mexican-American participants within the study, they found that a paltry 6.5% of the African-American participants consumed the levels of dairy products as recommended by the FDA, and only 11% of Mexican-American participants consumed the same recommended levels.

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Charles DeCarli, the head of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, expressed a desire to continue further research into these shocking and surprising findings.

“I don’t know if replacement therapy would affect these cognitive trajectories. That needs to be researched and we are planning on doing that. This is a vitamin deficiency that could easily be treated and that has other health consequences. We need to start talking about it. And we need to start talking about it, particularly for people of color, for whom vitamin D deficiency appears to present an even greater risk,” DeCarli said.

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What the research means for the future of Alzheimer’s and dementia research is unclear. While DeCarli mentions the idea of a “replacement therapy,” the idea of introducing more vitamin D into the diets and lives of individuals suffering cognitive decline, particularly individuals with darker skin tones such as African-American and Hispanic/Latin individuals, seems both a laughably simple premise and a difficult challenge. However, while an actual cure for cognitive decline may be several years away, it appears to be a step in the right direction for helping manage and slow down such a destructive disease.

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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