Skip to main content
Accessibility|Contact|Privacy|Terms|Cookies

Link Between Vitamin D and Alzheimer's Disease


  • Published: 2014-08-15 (Revised/Updated 2018-02-27) : Author: Thomas C. Weiss : Contact: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: Researchers have discovered there is a link between vitamin D and the way the human brain works.

Quote: "Some of the receptors in a person's brain are ones for vitamin D, meaning that vitamin D is acting in some way in the brain and influencing the way a person thinks, acts and learns."

Main Document

Alzheimer's disease is a condition that affects a person's memory and thinking and may cause changes in their behavior. The main symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include poor judgment in making decisions, memory loss that affects your daily life, as well as changes in your personality such as becoming suspicious, upset, or anxious. Medical science does not know exactly what causes the disease. The main things that may influence whether or not you develop Alzheimer's disease are a combination of your family history, age and genetics.

Researchers have discovered a link between vitamin D and your brain. Receptors for vitamin D have been found in a number of parts of the brain, meaning that vitamin D is acting in some way in your brain and might have an influence on the way people learn, think and behave. Research from a number of studies has revealed that Alzheimer's disease and dementia are more common in those who experience low levels of vitamin D in their body.

There have not; however, been many high-quality experiments that would be able to show with clarity whether low vitamin D levels cause Alzheimer's disease. More research is needed to provide a plainer answer concerning whether taking a vitamin D supplement may help to prevent or even treat Alzheimer's disease. If you have Alzheimer's disease, or you are attempting to prevent it and want to take vitamin D, it is not likely to make your symptoms any worse or cause you any harm as long as you take less than 10,000 I.U. each day. If you have Alzheimer's disease, you should not take vitamin D instead of prescribed medications.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a condition that causes a person to experience memory issues as well as changes in their behavior. The disease is usually progressive, meaning it develops slowly and worsens over time. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. 'Dementia,' is a medical term used for memory loss that is serious enough that it interferes with a person's daily life. At this time there is no cure for the disease. If you have Alzheimer's disease there are 2 main changes that take place in your brain. People with Alzheimer's disease experience:

Tangles: Tangles are dying or dead nerve cells which stop nutrients from moving through cells, causing them to die.

Plaques: Plaques are clusters of proteins that build up between the nerve cells in a person's brain and stop cells from signaling each other.

Chart showing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease
About This Image: Chart showing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease

Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease causes a number of symptoms in those who experience the disease. The symptoms people with Alzheimer's disease may experience include the following:

The symptoms are different from some average changes that occur as people age, such as occasionally forgetting names, or losing items from time to time. If you or someone you know experiences any of the symptoms described above, it is important to contact a doctor.

Causes of Alzheimer's Disease

Scientists know the disease involves cells in a person's brain failing and the development of tangles and plaques, yet the do not know why this happens. Over time, as brain cells die, a person's brain shrinks - which affects the way the brain works. Alzheimer's disease is the result of a number of different factors working together, not simply a single cause. While there are many things that increase a person's chances of developing Alzheimer's disease, scientists remain unsure of what causes some people to get it.

The main things that might influence whether or not a person develops Alzheimer's disease are a combination of their family history, their age, as well as their genetics. After a person reaches the age of 65, their chances of experiencing Alzheimer's disease double for every 5 years they age. At the age of 85, 1 in every 2 people develops Alzheimer's disease.

Chart showing risk factors for Alzheimer's disease
About This Image: Chart showing risk factors for Alzheimer's disease

Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is very common - millions of Americans live with the disease. 1 in 9 people over the age of 65 experience Alzheimer's disease. You are more likely to get Alzheimer's disease if you:

The Link Between Alzheimer's Disease and Vitamin D

Researchers have discovered there is a link between vitamin D and the way a person's brain works. Of the numerous ways that vitamin D may affect how a person's brain works, researchers are starting to study if not receiving enough vitamin D might affect whether a person develops dementias, to include Alzheimer's disease.

Receptors for vitamin D have been found in several parts of the brain. Receptors are found on the surface of a cell where they receive chemical signals. By attaching themselves to a receptor, these chemical signals direct a cell to do something. For example; to behave in a certain way, divide, or perish.

Some of the receptors in a person's brain are ones for vitamin D, meaning that vitamin D is acting in some way in the brain and influencing the way a person thinks, acts and learns. Researchers have discovered that in people with Alzheimer's disease there are fewer vitamin D receptors in a part of the brain called the, 'hippocampus,' which is involved in the formation of memories.

A person's brain relies on vitamin D receptors for protection against things that have the potential to damage it, to include the development of the tangles and plaques that form in Alzheimer's disease. The way receiving enough vitamin D affects a brain with dementia is still under study, yet scientists do know that vitamin D receptors work in various ways to protect a person's brain. Researchers are still exploring whether taking vitamin D supplements may help to prevent memory loss and dementia.

Preventing Alzheimer's Disease

A growing amount of recent research on the link between vitamin D and the way a person's brain works, to include Alzheimer's disease and dementia, now exists. Another item of research showed that people with low levels of vitamin D perform worse on tests designed to measure how well their brain is working. Most recent studies that have been performed are called, 'observational studies.' What this means is they can only find a link between vitamin D and Alzheimer's disease, but they do not know if not receiving enough vitamin D actually causes the disease.

Generally, research has discovered that people with Alzheimer's disease have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood. Two recent journal articles, which reviewed all of the studies involving vitamin D and Alzheimer's disease, showed that vitamin D levels are lower in people with Alzheimer's disease than those without. Again - researchers are unable to say with certainty whether receiving enough vitamin D may prevent Alzheimer's disease or dementia. One theory; for example, is that if a person has memory loss, or if they develop dementia, they could be staying inside more and making less vitamin D from exposure to the sun, leading to low levels of vitamin D in their body.


Have Your Say! - Add your comment or discuss this article on our FaceBook Page.


Interesting Similar Topics
1 : Widespread Vitamin D Deficiency Likely Due to Sunscreen Use and Increase of Chronic Diseases : American Osteopathic Association.
2 : Link Between Vitamin D and Alzheimer's Disease : Thomas C. Weiss.
3 : Daily Multivitamin Can Reduce Cancer Risk : David Stauth.
4 : Seniors May Need More Vitamin D to Prevent Mobility Difficulties : Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
5 : Cancer Patients and Vitamin D Deficiency : American Society for Radiation Oncology.
From our Vitamins - Types, Sources and Benefits section - Full List (26 Items)


Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.





1 : Eating at Night, Sleeping By Day Alters Key Blood Proteins
2 : Interior Car Temperature Can Become Life-threatening for Children in an Hour
3 : 20 New Episodes of Letters to Lynette with Dr. Lynette Louise to Air on The Autism Channel in 2018
4 : Turnstone Center Designated as Official Paralympic Training Site by US Olympic Committee
5 : Help Your Child in School by Adding Language to The Math
6 : 50% of Retirees Saw Little or No COLA Increase in Net 2018 Social Security Benefits
7 : Turnstone Endeavor Games Concludes with National Records Broken
8 : Spinning in Circles and Learning From Myself by Tsara Shelton


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.

© 2004 - 2018 Disabled World™