Low Vitamin D Status Associated With Accelerated Cognitive Decline

(HealthDay News) — For ethnically diverse older adults, low vitamin D status is associated with accelerated decline in cognitive function, according to a study published in JAMA Neurology.

Joshua W. Miller, PhD, from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and colleagues examined the correlation between vitamin D status and trajectories of change in subdomains of cognitive function in a cohort of 382 ethnically diverse older adults (41.4% white, 29.6% African-American, 25.1% Hispanic and 3.9% other race/ethnicity).

Mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) level was 19.2 ng/mL; 26.2% and 35.1% of participants were vitamin D deficient and insufficient, respectively, the researchers found. Compared with white participants, the mean 25(OH)D levels were significantly lower for African-American and Hispanic participants (21.7 ng/mL vs. 17.9 ng/mL and 17.2 ng/mL, respectively). 

The dementia group had significantly lower mean 25(OH)D compared with the mild cognitive impairment and cognitively normal groups, respectively (16.2 ng/mL vs. 20 ng/mL and 19.7 ng/mL, respectively). 

Vitamin D deficient and insufficient participants had greater rates of decline in episodic memory and executive function (vitamin D deficient: P=.49 and P=.01; vitamin D insufficient: P<.001 and P=.008) compared with those with adequate status, after adjustment for confounding variables.

“It remains to be determined whether vitamin D supplementation slows cognitive decline,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Miller JW et al. JAMA Neurol. 2015;doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.2115.