Serum Vitamin D Concentrations and Cognitive Change Over 20 Years: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Neurocognitive Study

Andrea L.C. Schneider, Di Zhao, Pamela L. Lutsey, Rebecca F. Gottesman, A. Richey Sharrett, Andreea M. Rawlings, Alvaro Alonso, David Knopman, Thomas H. Mosley, Elizabeth Selvin, Erin D. Michos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) concentrations have been associated with cognitive decline and incident dementia in elderly populations; however, these relationships are susceptible to reverse causation. Less is known about the association of midlife 25(OH)D with long-term cognitive decline. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of 13,044 participants (mean age 57 years at baseline) in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. 25(OH)D was measured from serum collected at baseline (1990–1992) using liquid chromatography tandem high-sensitivity mass spectrometry. Cognition was assessed using 3 neuropsychological tests at 3 time points, which were combined into a composite cognitive Z-score. Multivariable-adjusted linear mixed-effects models with random intercepts and slopes were used to estimate associations between 25(OH)D and cognitive change over 20 years. Results: Compared to persons with sufficient 25(OH)D (≥30 ng/mL), those with deficient (<20 ng/mL) and intermediate (20–<30 ng/mL) 25(OH) D concentrations had similar cognitive decline in composite cognitive Z-scores (deficient versus sufficient: –0.035 [95% CI –0.104 to 0.033] and intermediate versus sufficient: –0.029 [95% CI –0.080 to 0.023]). Conclusions: Lower concentrations of 25(OH)D measured in midlife were not significantly associated with more rapid cognitive decline over a 20-year follow-up period. The results of this prospective study are less susceptible to reverse causation than prior studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2018


  • Cognition
  • Cohort study
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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