There is conflicting evidence regarding the association of vitamin D with cognition performance and dementia.
We aimed to summarise the evidence on the association of vitamin D with cognitive performance, dementia and Alzheimer disease through a qualitative assessment of available systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
We conducted an overview of the systematic reviews of all study types with or without meta-analyses on vitamin D and either Alzheimer disease, dementia or cognitive performance up to June 2017.
Eleven systematic reviews were identified, nine of which were meta-analyses with substantial heterogeneity, differing statistical methods, variable methodological quality and quality of data abstraction. A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews checklist scores ranged from 4 to 10 out of 11, with seven reviews of ‘moderate’ and four of ‘high’ methodological quality. Out of six meta-analyses on the association between low serum concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and risk of dementia, five showed a positive association. Results of meta-analyses on the association between low serum concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and memory function tests showed conflicting results.
This systematic evaluation of available systematic reviews provided a clearer understanding of the potential link between low serum vitamin D concentrations and dementia. This evaluation also showed that the quality of the available evidence is not optimal because of both the low methodological quality of the reviews and low quality of the original studies. Interpretation of these systematic reviews should therefore be made with care.
Declaration of interest