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 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.
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.
Keywords: Cognition; memory; prospective studies; vitamin D.