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Older people with insufficient levels of vitamin D may be at an increased risk of dying from heart disease than those with adequate levels of the vitamin, says a new study from the University of Colorado, Denver School of Medicine. Compared to people with optimal vitamin D status, those with low vitamin D levels were three times more likely to die from heart disease and 2.5 times more likely to die from any cause, according to results of a study with 3,400 Americans.
“Current dosage recommendations for vitamin D supplementation appear to be inadequate in most older adults to support these higher [vitamin D] levels that are associated with optimal general health and reduced mortality,” wrote the researchers in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Lead author of the study Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, said: "It's likely that more than one-third of older adults now have vitamin D levels associated with higher risks of death and few have levels associated with optimum survival.
The researcher’s analyzed data from 3,488 people aged 65 and old participating in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. The subjects were enrolled between 1988 and 1994 and followed until 2000. After an average of 7 years of follow-up, 1,493 deaths were documented, 767 of which were due to cardiovascular disease. Compared to those with optimal vitamin D status (at least 100 nanomoles of 25(OH)D, the storage-inactive form of vitamin D), those with low vitamin D levels (25 nanomoles of 25(OH)D) were 3 times more likely to die from heart disease and 2.5 times more likely to die from any cause. The study is published in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.