Vitamin D deficiency is linked to multiple serious health conditions as people get older.
The problem is common in Europe, especially in elderly people. It has been linked to a higher risk for developing many aging-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.
However, there are several forms, or metabolites, of vitamin D in the body but it is the total amount of these metabolites that are most often used to assess the vitamin D status of people.
The prohormone, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D is converted to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, which is considered the active form of vitamin D in our body.
More than 99% of all vitamin D metabolites in the blood are bound to proteins, so only a very small fraction is free to be biologically active.
In a recent study, researchers found the free, circulating vitamin D levels in the blood may be a better predictor of future health risks in aging men.
The finding suggests the free, precursor form of vitamin D found circulating in the bloodstream is a more accurate predictor of future health and disease risk, than the often measured total vitamin D.
The study is from University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium and elsewhere. One researcher is Dr. Leen Antonio.
In the study, the team tested whether the free metabolites of vitamin D were better health predictors, using data from 1,970 community-dwelling men, aged 40-79, between 2003 and 2005.
The levels of total and free metabolites of vitamin D were compared with their current health status. They found the total levels of both free and bound vitamin D metabolites were linked to a higher risk of death.
However, only free 25-hydroxyvitamin D was predictive of future health problems and not free 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D.
These findings further confirm that vitamin D deficiency is linked to a negative impact on general health and can be predictive of a higher risk of death.
The team says most studies focus on the association between total 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and age-related disease and mortality.
As 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D is the active form of vitamin D in the body, it was possible it could have been a stronger predictor for disease and mortality. It has also been debated if the total or free vitamin D levels should be measured.
The study now suggests that both total and free 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are the better measures of future health risk in men.
If you care about vitamin, please read studies about this vitamin may hide heart attacks if you use it too much and findings of this vitamin may help protect you from respiratory infections.
For more information about vitamin D and your health, please see recent studies about this common vitamin may fight vision loss and results showing that this vitamin deficiency may harm your muscle function.
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