Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with a number of conditions, ranging from cardiovascular disease to certain types of cancers, according to WebMD. On the other side of the coin, research suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, multiple sclerosis, and a number of other serious medical conditions.
In an August 2014 study conducted at the University of Exeter, a team of international researchers found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in older people. Study participants who were severely deficient in vitamin D were more than twice as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Surprising Result in Robust Study
The University of Exeter study is significant given the size and robustness of the study design and the starkness of its findings. After analyzing 1,658 Americans taking part in the Cardiovascular Health Study, researchers found that those moderately deficient in vitamin D had a 53% increased risk of developing dementia, while those who were severely deficient had a 125% increased risk versus the general population.
Similar figures were recorded for the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. with over five million Americans living with the condition. For those moderately deficient in vitamin D, there was a 69% increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, while that figure jumped to 122% for those who were severely deficient compared to the general population.
“We expected to find an association between low Vitamin D levels and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but the results were surprising – we actually found that the association was twice as strong as we anticipated,” said Dr. Llewellyn, the lead researcher in the study. “Clinical trials are now needed to establish whether eating foods … or taking vitamin D supplements can delay or … prevent [disease].”
Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by a number of things, including a lack of vitamin D in the diet, limited sunlight exposure, dark skin, kidney problems, digestive problems, or obesity. Depending on the reason behind the vitamin D deficiency, supplementation or dietary changes could be an effective way to improve vitamin D levels and ultimately delay or prevent dementia-related illnesses.
Entia Offers a Compelling Solution
Entia Biosciences Inc. (OTC: ERGO), an emerging leader in the field of nutrigenomics, has been developing a proprietary pharmaceutical grade organic compound called ErgoD2® that contains micronutrients L-Ergothioneine, an amino acid with a dedicated transporter, and vitamin D2, that has been naturally enriched using patented technology licensed from Penn State University.
Vitamin D is primarily available in two active forms, including Ergocalciferol (“D2”) and Cholecalciferol (“D3”). The D2 variation is plant-based and produced in naturally high concentrations within mushrooms, while the D3 version is typically non-vegan and extracted from animals or chemically synthesized. Using its patented technology, Entia Biosciences increases D2 content by 2,000% in just seconds.
Over the past few quarters, the company has been putting ErgoD2® through clinical trials designed to assess efficacy in anemia, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative and autoimmune conditions. Management hopes to achieve “medical food” status for the compound, which would let physicians prescribe them to patients for specific underlying medical conditions.
Combined, these multi-billion dollar markets are ripe for innovation given the lack of efficacious treatments. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have been particularly difficult to treat, with drugs like Eli Lilly & Co.’s (NYSE: LLY) solanezumab and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE: JNJ) bapineuzumab failing to reach positive clinical end points.
The role of vitamin D in preventing and treating disease continues to gain momentum with ongoing clinical research. With its ErgoD2®, Entia Biosciences is uniquely positioned to capitalize on these realizations given its compound’s organic nature and positive outcomes in recent trials. Investors interested in this market may want to watch the company as it continues to conduct research in the space.
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