The pennies-a-day pill that can slow cognitive decline

There comes a point in every senior's life when you start to wonder: Was that just a little brain hiccup... or was it something much worse?

We all lose the keys from time to time. Everyone forgets a name or two.

But when it seems like it's happening more frequently, panic starts to set in as you worry that it just might be the start of dementia.

The good news is that in most cases, "senior moments" aren't a sign of Alzheimer's disease.

The bad news is that the risk of at least some form of cognitive decline grows with each passing year.

Today, I'm going to give you a chance to stop the clock and even turn back time -- because the latest research shows a simple and highly effective way to dramatically slow cognitive decline and keep dementia at bay.

And if you've been taking my advice over the years, it's already part of your routine.

Take vitamin D daily, and you can give your brain just the boost it needs to fight off the worst effects of aging in the brain. But if, like many seniors, you fall short, Father Time might be able to his worst.

In the new study, seniors with the lowest levels of vitamin D suffered cognitive decline at up to triple the rate of those who had normal D levels.

The researchers called the effect of low D both "profound" and "rapid."

It's as if the brain is getting older, faster -- all because it didn't get enough vitamin D. And if you're not taking a supplement, odds are you're not getting enough D.

We get very little of this essential hormone from food. And while our bodies make it from sunshine, most folks don't spend enough time outdoors to get what they need -- and even when they do, they wear sunscreen, which blocks the UV rays you need to produce the sunshine vitamin.

Seniors have an even tougher time getting what they need. In the new study, for example, more than 60 percent of older folks had either deficient or insufficient levels of D.

So while I recommend a minimum of 2,000 IU per day for everyone, seniors often need twice that level or more.

Your doc can run a test to check your levels, help you figure out how much you need and then test you again to make sure the supplement is doing its job. And if you're in Southern California, I can run that test right here at the Stengler Center.

Make an appointment to see me and we'll get started.

Not in the area? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.