A lack of vitamin D – which comes from sunshine – could raise your risk of getting dementia, according to research.
It is already known that someone’s genetics can raise their danger of developing dementia, as can smoking or being overweight.
But a new study from Edinburgh University has found a lack of sunshine could increase the risk.
People around the world with low vitamin D levels were found to have a higher risk of developing dementia, with researchers suggesting they could in future be advised to take supplements or spend more time outside to protect themselves.
The vitamin, which people get when their skin is exposed to sunlight, helps to clear the protein build-up which can cause Alzheimer’s disease.
It was found to be a potential environmental cause of dementia along with exposure to air pollution, pesticides and excessive levels of minerals such as aluminium in drinking water.
Dr Tom Russ, of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘Our ultimate goal is to prevent or delay the onset of dementia.
Environmental risk factors are an important new area to consider here, particularly since we might be able to do something about them.’