A new study published in the journal Endocrine has found that low vitamin D levels in adults with type 2 diabetes are associated with mild cognitive impairment.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is characterized as a change in cognition serious enough to be noticed but not serious enough to interfere with daily life.
Past research has looked at the link between vitamin D and type 2 diabetes and the link between vitamin D and cognitive impairment. However, not much research has looked at vitamin D’s role in cognitive impairment in type 2 diabetes. Cognitive impairment is common in diabetes, with the diagnosis of diabetes increasing the risk of dementia later in life by 1.6-fold.
So researchers from Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Hospital in China aimed to determine the relationship between vitamin D and MCI in type 2 diabetics.
They looked at 165 patients with type 2 diabetes. Among the group, 95 patients had MCI (a MoCA score of less than 26) and 70 patients did not have MCI (a MoCA score at or above 26). MoCA, or the Montreal Cognitive Assessment score, is a test designed for clinicians to be able to quickly diagnose mild cognitive conditions. Of the 30 points possible in the test, a score of 26 or more is considered normal.
The researchers measured the vitamin D levels in all patients and compared the levels of patients with MCI to the levels of patients without MCI.
The researchers found that diabetic patients with MCI had an average vitamin D level of 17.4 ng/ml compared to 28 ng/ml in patients without MCI.
“In conclusion, our results suggest that levels of serum 25(OH)D are inversely associated with the cognitive impairment in diabetic patients,” the researchers stated. “Vitamin D may be a potential protective factor for cognitive impairment in patients with type 2 diabetes.”