Vitamin D, found in fish and produced by sun exposure, can help stave off the mental decline that can affect people in old age, a study has suggested.
UK and US researchers looked at 2,000 people aged 65 and over. They found that compared to those with the highest vitamin D levels, those with the lowest were more than twice as likely to have impaired understanding.Alzheimer's charities said the research was interesting, but more work was needed to understand vitamin D's role. Vitamin D is important in maintaining bone health, in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and in helping the immune system.
The body makes vitamin D when it is exposed to the sun, or it can be obtained from foods such as oily fish, and those fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, cereals, and soya drinks. But older people's skin is less able to absorb vitamin D from sunlight so they are more reliant on obtaining it from other sources.