Vitamin D and Memory Decline: Two Population-Based Prospective Studies

Elbieta Kuma, Maya Soni, Thomas J. Littlejohns, Janice M. Ranson, Natasja M. Van Schoor, Dorly J H Deeg, Hannie Comijs, Paulo H M Chaves, Bryan R. Kestenbaum, Lewis H. Kuller, Oscar L. Lopez, James T. Becker, Kenneth M. Langa, William E. Henley, Iain A. Lang, Obioha C. Ukoumunne, David J. Llewellyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with dementia risk, cognitive decline, and executive dysfunction. However, the association with memory remains largely unknown. Objective: To investigate whether low serum 25-hydroxyVitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations are associated with memory decline. Methods: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 vitaminDmeasurements, 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. Results: 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). Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1099-1108
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 22 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Cognition
  • memory
  • prospective studies
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

Kuma, E., Soni, M., Littlejohns, T. J., Ranson, J. M., Van Schoor, N. M., Deeg, D. J. H., ... Llewellyn, D. J. (2016). Vitamin D and Memory Decline: Two Population-Based Prospective Studies. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 50(4), 1099-1108.