Vitamin D Lowers Risk of Death

Sep 2, 2009 by

Vitamin D Lowers Risk of Death

Although it is termed a “vitamin”, vitamin D is actually more of a hormone, one which regulates literally hundreds of different functions in the human body. It is no wonder, then, that this nutrient affects health and disease outcomes in so many ways.

The piece of research discussed in the following article gives us a broad idea of the usefulness and importance of vitamin D – it improves overall longevity.

Lack of Vitamin D Increases Risk of Death

by Reuben Chow

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, has already been linked to so many vital health functions and benefits. Among others, it boosts immune function, improves absorption of calcium thereby contributing to strong and healthy bones, plays an important role in cell growth, and reduces cancer risk. Now, in a conclusive study carried out by researchers at Johns Hopkins earlier this year, it has been revealed that lack of vitamin D can quite greatly increase the overall risk of death.

Details and Findings of Study

The study, which was published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine, had looked at a diverse group of 13,000 people participating in a national health survey. The group included both men and women, and the subjects were healthy at the start of the study. Risk of death was then compared with levels of vitamin D in the blood. According to experts, 17.8 nanograms per milliliter of blood or lower is considered a deficiency.

The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the P.J. Schafer Cardiovascular Research Fund and the Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars in Aging Program, found that factors which increased the probability of vitamin D deficiency were increasing age, being female, being of non-white ethnicity, having diabetes, currently a smoker, and having higher body mass index.

On the flip side, more physical activity, vitamin D supplementation and being in non-winter season decreased the likelihood of vitamin D deficiency.

By the end of the year 2000, which covered a median follow-up period of 8.7 years, 1,806 of the participants had passed on, with 777 succumbing to cardiovascular disease.

When analyzed, with factors such as demographics, season and cardiovascular disease risk factors being adjusted for, the data revealed that, compared with those in the highest quartile, those in the lowest quartile in terms of vitamin D levels (i.e. those who were deficient) had an 26% increase in risk of death from all causes.

When adjusted for cardiovascular disease and cancer, higher risks were revealed, although those figures were not statistically significant. All in all, according to the study team, their findings do add to a trend, with other studies having linked vitamin D deficiency to increased breast cancer risk and depression in older folks.

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