Low vitamin D 'increases mortality'
Published on 03 October 2012 12:00 PM
Older adults with low levels of vitamin D and high levels of parathyroid hormone have increased mortality rates, according to new research.
The study, published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM),showed that people with levels of vitamin D below 30 ng/ml have significantly increased all-cause mortality.
Lead researcher, Stephen B. Kritchevsky, PhD, Professor of Internal Medicine and Transitional Science at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, said: 'Our findings suggest that low levels of vitamin D may be a substantial public health concern for our nation's older adults.'
In recent years there have been a host of studies carried out into the role vitamin D plays in relation to improving health and preventing disease, with insufficient levels of it being linked to cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.
Before this latest research, most of the studies had been focused on Europe but this time investigators chose to cast a wider net to examine the relationship between vitamin D and death rates.
A total of 2,638 Caucasians and African-Americans aged between 70 and 79 were involved in the study.
They fasted for 12 hours before a blood sample was taken from them to examine their levels of vitamin D.
Afterwards, participants were contacted every six months as researchers kept an eye on their medical condition.
Mr Kritchevsky added: 'We all know that good nutrition is important to overall health and our study adds to a growing body of literature that underscores the importance of vitamin D and indicates that poor vitamin D nutrition is wide-spread.
'The good news is it's easy to improve vitamin D status either through increased skin exposure to sunlight or through diet or supplements.'
The data, which considered a variety of health factors as well as the time of year, was used to determine the proportion of deaths among those with a variety of vitamin D levels.
Copyright Press Association 2012