Vitamin D deficiency an increased risk factor
August 12, 2008
by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
BALTIMORE — Inadequate levels of vitamin D can lead to a substantially increased risk of death, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins.
The researchers followed 13,000 men and women who were initially healthy and compared the risk of death between those with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D to those with higher amounts. There were 1,800 study participants who were known to have died by 2001, and nearly 700 died from some form of heart disease, with 400 of those people being vitamin D deficient. This results in a 26% increased risk of death.
However, the number of deaths from heart disease alone was not large enough to meet scientific criteria to say it was due to low vitamin D levels. Despite this, researches say it highlights a trend established along with other studies linking vitamin D shortages to health issues such as increased rates of breast cancer and depression in the elderly and increased risk of peripheral artery disease.
"Our results make it much more clear that all men and women concerned about their overall health should more closely monitor their blood levels of vitamin D and make sure they have enough," said Dr. Erin Michos, one of the lead researchers. "We think we have additional evidence to consider adding vitamin D deficiency as a distinct and separate risk factor for death from cardiovascular disease, putting it alongside much better known and understood risk factors such as age, gender, family history, smoking, high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, obesity and diabetes."
Vitamin D helps in cell growth, boosting the body’s immune system and strengthening bones. The vitamin can be found in milk, fortified cereals and exposure to sunlight.