February 8, 2016 – Vitamin D and Memory Decline: Two Population-Based Prospective Studies
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with dementia risk, cognitive decline, and executive dysfunction. However, the association with memory remains largely unknown.
To investigate whether low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations are associated with memory decline.
We used data on 1,291 participants from the US Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) and 915 participants from the Dutch Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) who were dementia-free at baseline, had valid vitamin D measurements, and follow-up memory assessments. The Benton Visual Retention Test (in the CHS) and Rey’s Auditory Verbal Learning Test (in the LASA) were used to assess visual and verbal memory, respectively.
In the CHS, those moderately and severely deficient in serum 25(OH)D changed -0.03 SD (95% CI: -0.06 to 0.01) and -0.10 SD (95% CI: -0.19 to -0.02) per year respectively in visual memory compared to those sufficient (p = 0.02). In the LASA, moderate and severe deficiency in serum 25(OH)D was associated with a mean change of 0.01 SD (95% CI: -0.01 to 0.02) and -0.01 SD (95% CI: -0.04 to 0.02) per year respectively in verbal memory compared to sufficiency (p = 0.34).
Our findings suggest an association between severe vitamin D deficiency and visual memory decline but no association with verbal memory decline. They warrant further investigation in prospective studies assessing different memory subtypes.