Vitamin D deficiency could kill you.
May 06, 2020
2020 — New research linking low vitamin D levels with deaths from heart disease and other causes bolsters mounting evidence about the "sunshine" vitamin's role in good health.
Patients with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D were about two times more likely to die from any cause during the next eight years than those with the highest levels, the study found. The link with heart-related deaths was particularly strong in those with low vitamin D levels were related to poor physical activity.
Experts say the results shouldn't be seen as a reason to start popping vitamin D pills or to spend hours in the sun, which is the main source for vitamin D.
deficiency increases the risk of diseases
Low vitamin D levels could reflect age, lack of physical activity and other lifestyle factors that also affect health, said American Heart Association spokeswoman Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University.
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The study led by Austrian researchers involved 3,258 men and women in southwest Germany. Participants were aged 62 on average, most with heart disease, whose vitamin D levels were checked in weekly blood tests. During roughly eight years of follow-up, 737 died, including 463 from heart-related problems.
According to one of the vitamin tests they used, there were 307 deaths in patients with the lowest levels, versus 103 deaths in those with the highest levels. Counting age, physical activity and other factors, the researchers calculated that deaths from all causes were about twice as common in patients in the lowest-level group.
The study's lead
"Now we are beginning to realize that there is much more into it," he said
Exactly how low vitamin D levels might contribute to heart problems and deaths from other illnesses is uncertain, although it is has been shown to help regulate the body's disease-fighting immune system, he said.
Earlier this month, the same journal included research led by Harvard scientists linking low vitamin D levels with heart attacks. And previous research has linked low vitamin D with high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, which all can contribute to heart disease.
The new research "provides the strongest evidence to date for a link between vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular mortality," said Dr. Edward Giovannucci of the Harvard study of 18,225 men.
Low vitamin D levels also have been linked with several kinds of cancer and some researchers believe the vitamin could even be used to help prevent cancer.
It has been estimated that at least 50 percent of older adults worldwide have low vitamin D levels, and the problem is also thought to affect large numbers of younge people. Reasons include reduced outdoor activity, air pollution combined with age causes a decline in the skin's ability to produce vitamin D from ultraviolet rays,
Overuse of sunscreen lotions has contributed, and say just 40 to 50 minutes daily in the sun without sunscreen is safe and enough to ensure adequate vitamin D, although there's no consensus on that.
Diet sources include fortified milk, which generally contains 100 international units of vitamin D per cup, and fatty fish ,3 ounces of canned tuna has 200 units.
CIDPUSA current vitamin D recommendations are 500 units daily for children and 5000 units for adults . But some doctors believe these amounts are low.
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