A report in the July 11th issue of Archives of Internal Medicine states that people with low levels of vitamin D appear to have a higher risk of death from all causes.
According to background information in the article, several studies have suggested that vitamin D deficiency contributes to cardiovascular disease, cancer and death. The optimum level for Vitamin D is supposed to be 30 nanograms per milliliter or higher. The report states that approximately 53% of women and 41% of men have levels lower than 28 nanograms per milliter.
Michal L. Melamed, MD, MHS, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, and colleagues analyzed vitamin D levels in 13,331 individuals who participated in the Third National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES III), conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vitamin D levels were collected between 1988 and 1994, and participants were tracked through 2000.
Over a median (midpoint) of 8.7 years of follow-up, 1,806 of the participants died. When they were divided into four groups (quartiles) based on their vitamin D levels, those in the group with the lowest level (less than 17.8 nanograms per milliliter) had a 26 percent increased rate of death from any cause compared with those in the group with the highest vitamin D levels. No significant associations were found when the researchers assessed vitamin D levels and risk of death from cardiovascular disease or cancer alone. Low vitamin D levels may be associated with death through their effect on blood pressure, the body’s ability to respond to insulin, obesity and diabetes risk, the authors note.
Other evidence that supports the risk of vitamin D deficiency’s role in death risk includes:
- Cardiovascular events are more common in the winter when vitamin D levels are at their lowest.
- Cancer survival is better if the cancer is diagnosed in the summer rather than in the winter.
The authors conclude that those with less than 17.8 nanograms per milliliter) is associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality in the general U.S. population.
Other Fighting Fatigue articles on Vitamin D Deficiency:
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