Low levels of vitamin D are associated with mortality in older adults

October 2, 2012, The Endocrine Society

Low levels of vitamin D and high levels of parathyroid hormone are associated with increased mortality in African American and Caucasian older adults, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM). The study also indicates that the potential impact of remediating low vitamin D levels is greater in African Americans than Caucasians because vitamin D insufficiency is more common in African Americans.

For the past several years, there has been considerable interest in the role vitamin D plays in improving health and preventing disease. Low levels of vitamin D have been directly associated with various forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Most studies regarding the health effects of low vitamin D levels have been conducted on persons of European origin, but the current study examines the relationship between vitamin D and mortality in blacks and whites.

"We observed vitamin D insufficiency (defined as blood levels <20 ng/ml), in one third of our study participants. This was associated with nearly a 50 percent increase in the mortality rate in older adults," said Stephen B. Kritchevsky, PhD, Professor of Internal Medicine and Transitional Science at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, and lead researcher of this study. "Our findings suggest that low levels of vitamin D may be a substantial public health concern for our nation's ."

In this study, 2,638 and African-Americans aged 70-79 years were asked to fast for 12-hours, after which a blood sample was collected to determine levels of vitamin D. Every six months were contacted to ascertain their medical condition. This study determined the proportion of deaths among participants of with different vitamin D levels. In addition to many , the time of year was also taken into account due to the seasonal effects on vitamin D. Researchers found that levels of vitamin D less than 30 ng/ml were associated with significantly increased all-cause mortality.

"We all know that 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," said Kritchevsky. "The good news is it's easy to improve vitamin D status either through increased skin exposure to sunlight or through diet or supplements."

Explore further: Vitamin D influences racial differences in breast cancer risk

More information: The study, "25-Hydroxyvitamin D, Parathyroid Hormone, and Mortality in Black and White Older Adults: The Health ABC Study," appears in the November 2012 edition of JCEM.

Related Stories

Vitamin D influences racial differences in breast cancer risk

April 4, 2012
American women of African ancestry are more likely than European Americans to have estrogen receptor (ER) negative breast cancer. There continues to be discussion about the role of low levels of vitamin D in the development ...

Low vitamin D levels may contribute to development of Type 2 diabetes

December 5, 2011
A recent study of obese and non-obese children found that low vitamin D levels are significantly more prevalent in obese children and are associated with risk factors for type 2 diabetes. This study was accepted for publication ...

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Rydog
1 / 5 (1) Oct 02, 2012
50% increased mortality rate. So now it's 150%?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.