Radio Study: Having a Vitamin D deficiency linked to early death, heart disease and stroke

November 20, 2009

November 20, 2009

Having a Vitamin D deficiency linked to early death, heart disease and stroke

Insufficient intake of vitamin D may significantly increase a person's risk of stroke, heart disease and even death a study by the Heart Institute at the Intermountain Medical

Center in Salt Lake City indicates. The researchers examined 27,686 patients in Utah who were 50 years of age or older with no history of cardiovascular disease. The patients were divided into three groups based on their vitamin D levels -- normal (over 30 nanograms per milliliter), low (15-30 ng/ml) or very low (less than 15 ng/ml) -- and were followed for a year to determine whether they developed some form of heart disease.

The study found that those with very low vitamin D levels were 77 % more likely to die early than those with normal levels. They were also found to be 45 % more likely to develop coronary artery disease and 78 % were more likely to have a stroke, said the research. Those with very low levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to develop heart failure, said the study. "If increasing levels of vitamin D can decrease some risk associated with these cardiovascular diseases, it could have a significant public health impact," said study co-author Heidi May, noting that vitamin D deficiency is easily treatable. "When you consider that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America , you understand how this research can help improve the length and quality of people's lives." The study is slated to be presented at the conference organized by the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida this week.