|The understanding of the role of vitamin D in maintaining optimal health has advanced sharply in the past two decades. There is mounting evidence for beneficial roles for vitamin D in reducing the risk of bone diseases and fractures, many types of cancer, bacterial and viral infections, autoimmune diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. Recently, several reports have also been published regarding the role of vitamin D in neuroprotection. This article develops the hypothesis that vitamin D can reduce the risk of developing dementia, presenting the evidence from observational and laboratory studies. The observational evidence includes that low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, depression, dental caries, osteoporosis, and periodontal disease, all of which are either considered risk factors for dementia or have preceded incidence of dementia.
The laboratory evidence includes several findings on the role of vitamin D in neuroprotection and reducing inflammation. Although this evidence is supportive, there do not appear to be observational studies of incidence of dementia with respect to prediagnostic serum 25(OH)D or vitamin D supplementation. Such studies now appear to be warranted.