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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 January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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