Vitamin D deficiency linked to higher death risk, study confirms

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Low vitamin D status has been linked to increased mortality, but mortality in the context of vitamin D deficiency remains unclear.

Many studies either fail to recruit people with severe deficiency or, because of ethical reasons, are prevented from doing so.

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

These findings suggest a need for public health strategies to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D in the population.

In the study, the team examined more than 300,000 adults in the United Kingdom to assess genetic evidence for the causal role of low vitamin D status in mortality.

They evaluated measurements of participants’ 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-(OH) D) and other genetic data. They also recorded and analyzed both all-cause and cause-specific death data.

Over a 14-year follow-up period, the team found that the risk for death decreased strongly with increased vitamin D concentrations, and the strongest effects were seen for persons in the severe deficiency range.

They note that recent estimates for the prevalence of severe deficiency range from 5 to 50 percent of the population, with rates varying by geographic location and population characteristics.

According to the researchers, their study affirms the potential for a notable effect on premature death and the continued need for efforts to abolish vitamin D deficiency.

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

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