Could osteoporosis increase your risk of dementia?
Past studies say it can. And now a new German study has shed even more light.
The revealing study published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Research tracked nearly 60,000 participants. The study ran between January 1993 and December 2012. (So some patients were followed up to 20 years!)¹
The researchers were on the Epidemiology Team at human health data sciences company IQVIA in Germany. These researchers tracked 29,983 patients with osteoporosis, and another 29,983 without.
Each osteoporotic patient was “paired” with a non-osteoporotic patient of a similar age, gender, health concerns, etc. That was to further uncover how osteoporosis influenced dementia. After the study wrapped up, the data showed:
Men with osteoporosis had a 1.3-fold increased risk of dementia.
Women with osteoporosis had a 1.2-fold increased risk.
What’s the Link?So why does one condition help bring on a seemingly unrelated condition? The major hypothesis explaining the association between osteoporosis and dementia is that they share some common risk factors, one of the co-authors revealed.
The first is a genetic mutation in DNA, known as a polymorphism. The polymorphism found in the study is for the APOE4 allele— the main genetic cause of Alzheimer’s Disease.²
Now, the “normal” APOE is a protein that carries cholesterol and fats through the body. It also supports injury repair in the brain. But a polymorphism of that protein can cause the opposite— a buildup of starch-like blockages in the brain’s blood vessels. This buildup causes cognitive decline with age.
While researchers don’t all agree, there is popular belief that many osteoporotic patients also have the APOE4 mutation. And the APOE4 mutation is linked to fractures.³
There were two vitamins also suggested as risk factors…
Vitamin K deficiency- Dementia patients tend to have a vitamin K deficiency. And if you follow my weekly newsletters, you probably know vitamin K is one of the essential nutrients for strong bones. Specifically, vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 helps transport calcium into your bones. And because it brings calcium into your bones, that means it takes calcium away from other places. So vitamin K2 clears out calcium deposits in soft tissues like your arteries, kidneys, and brain, and shuttles it into your bones.
So without enough vitamin K2, calcium can accumulate in soft tissue and upset your body’s natural rhythm.
So, reduced vitamin K means less calcium in your bones, which can cause osteoporosis and fractures. Less calcium in your bones means more calcium elsewhere, which can lead to dementia-inducing conditions in your brain!
Vitamin D deficiency- As you may know, vitamin D is another essential nutrient for strong bones.
Just like vitamin K, vitamin D also helps your bones absorb more calcium. Without enough vitamin D, your bones don’t absorb all the calcium they need, which can lead to frailty and fracture.
But did you know vitamin D also supports your central nervous system?⁴ Vitamin D protects your neurons and clears up amyloid beta plaques— the brain blockages mentioned above!
In one study, vitamin D deficiency doubled the risk of cognitive impairment in 752 older women.⁵ Another showed people with low vitamin D levels had 2.3x greater risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias than those with normal levels.⁶ And that was only over a 6-year span!
Again, reduced vitamin D means less calcium in your bones, which can cause osteoporosis and fractures. And less calcium in your bones means more calcium elsewhere… where it can do damage!
Did You Know? Nearly 50% of the world’s population is vitamin D-deficient.⁷
How To Insulate Your Brain And Bones: Why is the IQVIA study so groundbreaking? It’s the first of its kind to track osteoporosis and dementia over time; following people who did and didn’t have osteoporosis from the start.
And the researchers accessed dependable patient records from over 1,200 German health practices. That meant no self-reporting bias or relying on patients’ memory to get accurate medical data!
So the question is… are you protecting yourself from osteoporosis and dementia? Sure, you can’t do much about an APOE polymorphism. But you can control your levels of both vitamin K and D!
Here are the top natural sources of vitamin D.
Here are the top natural sources of vitamin K.
But if you want a natural source of both these vitamins- along with the 13 other essential minerals proven to build bone- you’ll want to try the AlgaeCal Bone Builder Pack. https://www.algaecal.com/
I cared for Mom for seven years and learned so much from my experiences with her and Alzheimer's.