Ask Rita: Is There a Link Between Vitamin D and Dementia?

, Sunrise VP of Memory Care Services  |  October 1, 2014

Rita Altman, vice president of Memory Care and Programming, shares her expertise on memory loss health and wellness, once again, in her latest “Ask Rita” Q&A, below! Rita has over 30 years of nursing experience and is one of seven Validation Masters worldwide. Learn more about Rita, here.

Do you have a question for Rita? Email us at Information@SunriseSeniorLiving.com and Rita may answer your question in detail here on The Sunrise Blog!

Q: I’ve recently read about an association between low levels of Vitamin D and increased dementia.  Is this claim valid, and if so, does Sunrise design the menu for our Reminiscence residents with this in mind?

 A: A recent article in the journal Neurology reports that low Vitamin D is associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, although they do not know whether low Vitamin D is the actual cause. Therefore, it is still undetermined whether those with low Vitamin D levels are at increased risk for developing dementia.

Interestingly, there are very few foods in nature that contain Vitamin D. At Sunrise, our menus include foods fortified with Vitamin D such as milk and some dairy products, egg yolks, as well as foods with naturally occurring Vitamin D such as salmon, tuna and mushrooms.

Another way that residents can receive extra Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is by spending brief amounts of time outdoors in the sunlight a few times a week. This is because Vitamin D, which helps to keep the bones strong, is produced by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. The necessary amount is provided when uncovered face, arms or legs are briefly exposed to sunlight a few times a week. Be sure to wear your SPF protection, and remember that direct sunlight in the peak hours of sunshine are not necessary to get all the benefits!

The best way to determine a Vitamin D deficiency is through a simple blood test at your doctor’s office. If it is determined that a person has a deficiency, a supplement can be prescribed to boost Vitamin D levels to a healthy range.

Do you have a question for Rita? Email us at Information@SunriseSeniorLiving.com and Rita may answer your question in detail here on The Sunrise Blog!

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