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Experts Debunk Rumors About Vitamin D and Alzheimer's Disease Risk

Recent rumors about vitamin D increasing the risk of Alzheimer's disease have caused concern. However, experts clarify that these findings only apply to 'active vitamin D3', not the commonly consumed 'inactive vitamin D3'.

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Safak Costu
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Experts Debunk Rumors About Vitamin D and Alzheimer's Disease Risk

Recent online rumors have sparked widespread concern about the potential dangers of vitamin D supplementation, particularly in elderly individuals. The controversy stems from a study published in Aging Cell, which suggested that high-dose vitamin D supplementation could increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. This conclusion was drawn from two parts of the study: an animal experiment involving mice and an analysis of Taiwan's National Health Insurance database.

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Findings from the Animal Experiment and Database Analysis

In the animal experiment, mice with Alzheimer's disease displayed lower blood levels of vitamin D, but increased levels of vitamin D receptor protein in the brain. This protein was found to be associated with amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's. The database analysis revealed that seniors who took 'active vitamin D3' annually had a 1.8 times higher risk of developing dementia compared to non-users. Moreover, those already diagnosed with dementia had a 2.17 times higher risk of death.

Clarification from Experts

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However, experts caution against taking these findings at face value. They point out that the data analyzed referred to 'active vitamin D3', a specifically prescribed form of the vitamin for treating certain health conditions. This is different from the 'inactive vitamin D3' commonly found in dietary sources and over-the-counter supplements. Furthermore, the population that used 'active vitamin D3' in the health insurance database were already at a higher risk of dementia, such as those with kidney disease.

Correlation, Not Causation

Experts also stress the importance of understanding that the study indicated a correlation, not a causation, between dementia and vitamin D supplementation. The group taking 'active vitamin D3' may have started with a higher baseline risk of dementia due to their pre-existing health conditions. Therefore, it is imperative not to misinterpret the findings or panic. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for adults is at least 15 mcg or 600 IU, and maintaining adequate levels is essential for overall health, including bone health.

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