Low Vitamin D Level Linked to Higher Risk of Premature Death, Research Shows

Low Vitamin D Level Linked to Higher Risk of Premature Death, Research Shows

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Researchers at the University of South Australia have found a causal relationship between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of mortality. Ezra Bailey/Getty Images
  • Approximately one billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D.
  • Researchers at the University of South Australia have found a causal relationship between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of mortality.
  • The scientists also found that a person’s risk of all-cause mortality increased by 25% if their vitamin D level was in the deficiency range.

Vitamin D plays an important role in a person’s overall health, including building strong bones and protecting your immune system.

Although vitamin D is easily obtained through sun exposure and eating the right foods, it is possible to be deficient in vitamin D.

The researchers estimate about 1 billion People all over the world have low levels of vitamin D.

In a new study, scientists from the University of South Australia found evidence of a causal relationship between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of mortality.

This study was recently published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient required for good health and plays an important role in:

The body naturally produces vitamin D from sun exposure and receives vitamin D from foods rich in this nutrient, including:

Sometimes a person cannot naturally get all the vitamin D they need. A doctor can determine how much vitamin D a person with a blood test.

  • If a person has between 30 and 49 nmol/L (nanomoles per liter) of vitamin D in their blood, they are considered to be at risk of being inadequate.
  • Below 30 nmol/L or less, the person is at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

In addition to blood test readings, symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • bone fragility, osteoporosis, or both
  • bone-ache
  • fatigue
  • muscle weakness, pain, or spasms
  • joint stiffness

If a person has low levels of vitamin D, they may need to take a vitamin D supplement.

the Recommended daily allowance of vitamin D depends on the person’s age. From ages 1 to 70, a person should get 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day. This increases to 20 micrograms for adults over 71 years of age.

According to Dr. Elina Hyppönendirector of the Australian Center for Precision Health at the University of South Australia and lead author of the new study, the research team wanted to test whether a higher level of vitamin D can reduce the risk of premature mortality and whether this effect is similar for people who have low levels of vitamin D and for those who already have sufficient concentrations.

For the study, researchers examined data from more than 300,000 adult participants of the UK Biobank.

The scientists used a technique called Mendelian randomization for the study, which allows researchers to use genetic variation to look for causal relationships between modifiable risk factors, in this case, vitamin D deficiency, and health outcomes, such as mortality risk.

Upon analysis, the researchers found over a 14-year period that a person’s risk of death decreased significantly when their vitamin D levels increased.

The scientists also reported an association between lower levels of vitamin D and deaths caused by:

In addition, the research team found that a person’s risk of all-cause mortality was increased by 25% if their vitamin D level was in the deficiency risk range of 25 nmol/L, compared to participants with a vitamin D level of 50 nmol/L.

In this study, the researchers found a “causal relationship” between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of mortality.

Dr. Hyppönen explained that a causal relationship means that it is a relationship that the researchers believe to be “true” rather than a mere association.

“The genetic approach we use can overcome many of the methodological problems that can commonly affect the findings of other types of observational studies, making them less reliable.”

– Dr. Elina Hyppönen, lead author of the study

Today’s medical news He also discussed the research with Dr Scott Kaisergeriatrician and director of geriatric cognitive health at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, who was not involved in the study.

He said that with the techniques and data used, the researchers were able to conduct a virtual clinical trial where a real-life trial might not be feasible or even ethical.

“We know it’s bad for you to be vitamin D deficient, so how can you ethically make people vitamin D deficient just to study them compared to people who are given vitamin D supplements?” he questioned her.

Dr. Hyppönen noted that this is not the first study to find evidence of a causal relationship between vitamin D deficiency and mortality risk.

“There was some evidence from meta-analysis of clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation that suggested a benefit, and another study that used a method very similar to ours,” he said.

“It is safe to say that this is the most comprehensive study to date and, for example, this is the first study to look at respiratory disease or to include sensitivity analyzes confirming relevance to non-white ethnic groups.”

Dr. Hyppönen and her research team believe their findings highlight the need to follow national vitamin D intake guidelines to ensure a person’s vitamin D levels don’t drop too low.

“The key is prevention. It is not enough to think about vitamin D deficiency when you are already facing life-challenging situations when early action could make a difference,” he said.

joshua sutherlanda doctoral student at the Australian Center for Precision Health at the University of South Australia and first author of this study, agreed.

“While there are specific mechanisms through which vitamin D may promote better health with respect to each of the cause-specific diseases we evaluated, the ultimate role of vitamin D in life-challenging scenarios is likely to be to promote better health. capacity to retain, at least, the minimum physiological level of reserves necessary to sustain life”, he explained. This is because vitamin D receptors they are found throughout the body, and because of this, many regulatory systems in the body depend on sufficient levels of the vitamin.”

– Joshua Sutherland, first author of the study

For people who are concerned about their vitamin D levels, Dr. Kaiser said they should talk to their health care professional. He also stated that older adults are at significantly higher risk of vitamin D deficiency for several reasons.

“Many older people expose themselves less to the sun; people may be spending more time indoors,” she explained.

“As we age, our skin is not as efficient and effective at synthesizing vitamin D precursor. Our kidneys do not do a good job of [the] metabolic process where vitamin D hydroxylase, which is a necessary part of the physiological pathway. And some medications we might be taking could contribute to increasing our risk of vitamin D deficiency.”

“It’s really important if you’re older or for your older loved ones to be especially vigilant about your risk of vitamin D deficiency and to be proactive about making sure you have enough vitamin D.”

– Dr. Scott Kaiser, geriatrician

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