Vitamin D deficiency may increase death risk, study finds

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In a study from the University of South Australia, scientists found support for a causal relationship between vitamin D deficiency and mortality.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bone.

Also, studies show that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation.

Previous research has found low vitamin D level is associated with increased death.

In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the evidence for the causal role of low vitamin D status in death.

They used data from UK Biobank, a large-scale, prospective database from England, Scotland, and Wales with people recruited between March 2006 and July 2010.

The researchers analyzed information from more than 300,000 adults (aged 37 to 73 years at recruitment) with available vitamin D levels and genetic data.

During the 14 years of follow-up, there were 18,700 deaths. The team found the association of vitamin D levels with all-cause death was L-shaped.

Death risk decreased steeply with increasing vitamin D levels until 50 nmol/L. The same association was also found in death from cancer, heart disease, and respiratory diseases.

All-cause death risks were estimated to increase by 25% for people with a vitamin D level of 25 nmol/L compared with 50 nmol/L.

Based on the findings, the team suggests that there is a causal link between vitamin D deficiency and death risk.

Additional research needs to identify methods that meet the National Academy of Medicine’s guideline of greater than 50 nmol/L and that reduce the premature risk for death associated with low vitamin D levels.

The study has some limitations. For example, the analyses were restricted to a White European population.

The study was conducted by Joshua P. Sutherland et al and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and vitamin D supplements strongly reduce cancer death.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies that common plant nutrients could help reduce high blood pressure, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

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