Researchers have discovered senior citizens with low levels of vitamin D are twice as likely to be cognitively impaired, which can develop into Alzheimer's disease.
Approximately 2,000 adults aged 65 and older participated in the Health Survey for England in 2000, which is where the study got most of its data. Scientists found as the levels of vitamin D decreased, levels of cognitive impairment rose, suggesting the two were connected.
Dr Iain Lang said people with cognitive impairment have an increased risk of developing dementia and identifying ways to prevent the debilitating condition was "a key challenge for health services."
According to his research, adding vitamin D supplements to a senior citizen's diet may prevent the onset of the disease in some people.
Though people can receive the vitamin naturally through sunlight, older people absorb less of it due to their ageing skin.
"[Vitamin D] has been proposed in the past as a way of improving bone health in older people, but our results suggest it might also have other benefits. We need to investigate whether vitamin D supplementation is a cost-effective and low-risk way of reducing older people's risks of developing cognitive impairment and dementia," Lang said.