Taking 4p common supplement could help stop deadly dementia in its tracks

VITAMIN D pills may help ward off dementia, a study claims.

Researchers found supplementing the nutrient — created by the body when exposed to sunlight — could slow the memory-robbing condition’s onset.

GettyVitamin D is made naturally by the body when the skin absorbs direct sunlight while outdoors but the NHS advises everyone considers taking supplements during autumn and winter[/caption]

The study of nearly 12,400 older adults showed it was particularly effective in women and for those who had not already started showing signs of cognitive decline.

The vitamin is vital to help clear a protein that can build up in the brain, which causes Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Zahinoor Ismail, of the University of Exeter, said: “We know vitamin D has some effects that could reduce dementia, but research has yielded conflicting results. 

“Our findings give key insights into groups who might be specifically targeted for vitamin D supplementation. 

“Overall, we found evidence to suggest earlier supplementation might be particularly beneficial.”

Vitamin D is made naturally by the body when the skin absorbs direct sunlight while outdoors.

But the NHS advises everyone considers taking supplements — which can cost as little as 4p per pill — during autumn and winter.

Around 944,000 people in the UK are living with dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of the condition, is caused by a build-up of proteins called amyloids in the brain.

Experts do not know exactly how this leads to the loss of brain cells, but research is continuing.

Symptoms include memory loss, difficulty concentrating and finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks.

While there is no cure, medics believe taking steps to reduce risk factors, like obesity, smoking and alcohol, can help prevent or delay the condition.

The latest research, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, studied the effects of vitamin D pills on the disease.

None of the participants had dementia at the start of the decade-long study, with 37 per cent taking the supplements.

They were 40 per cent less likely to develop the condition.

Dr Byron Creese, of the University of Exeter, said: “Preventing dementia or even delaying its onset is vitally important given the growing numbers of people affected. 

“The link with vitamin D in this study suggests that taking vitamin D supplements may be beneficial in preventing or delaying dementia.

“We now need clinical trials to confirm whether this is really the case.”