In a study of patients scheduled for a coronary angiography (so we assume they all had heart ailments) the doctors checked their blood vitamin D levels. They then followed the patients over almost eight years. 22% of the patients died, most from heart issues.
When the doctors looked at vitamin D levels, patients with the lowest amount died almost twice as often as those with the highest amount. Even those patients who died of other causes died twice as often as those with the highest amounts of vitamin D.
What caused the difference? Lower vitamin D led to higher inflammatory markers in the blood.
What does it matter to you and me? Experts estimate that 50-60% of older populations of the world do not have enough vitamin D.
So get your D. Not necessarily as a pill. Twenty minutes of sunlight will give you plenty (and keep your dermatologist happy). Here in Maine we get all our sun in the summer, so we need a bit more. But just a bit.
But don’t believe me. Here’s the link to the complete study and here’s the abstract below.
Harald Dobnig, MD; Stefan Pilz, MD; Hubert Scharnagl, PhD; Wilfried Renner, PhD; Ursula Seelhorst, MA; Britta Wellnitz, LLD; Jürgen Kinkeldei, DEng; Bernhard O. Boehm, MD; Gisela Weihrauch, MSc; Winfried Maerz, MD
Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(12):1340-1349.
Background In cross-sectional studies, low serum levelsof 25-hydroxyvitamin D are associated with higher prevalenceof cardiovascular risk factors and disease. This study aimedto determine whether endogenous 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitaminD levels are related to all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.
Methods Prospective cohort study of 3258 consecutive maleand female patients (mean [SD] age, 62  years) scheduledfor coronary angiography at a single tertiary center. We formedquartiles according to 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitaminD levels within each month of blood drawings. The main outcomemeasures were all-cause and cardiovascular deaths.
Results During a median follow-up period of 7.7 years,737 patients (22.6%) died, including 463 deaths from cardiovascularcauses. Multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for patientsin the lower two 25-hydroxyvitamin D quartiles (median, 7.6and 13.3 ng/mL [to convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to nanomolesper liter, multiply by 2.496]) were higher for all-cause mortality(HR, 2.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.60-2.70; and HR,1.53; 95% CI, 1.17-2.01; respectively) and for cardiovascularmortality (HR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.57-3.13; and HR, 1.82; 95% CI,1.29-2.58; respectively) compared with patients in the highest25-hydroxyvitamin D quartile (median, 28.4 ng/mL). Similar resultswere obtained for patients in the lowest 1,25-dihydroxyvitaminD quartile. These effects were independent of coronary arterydisease, physical activity level, Charlson Comorbidity Index,variables of mineral metabolism, and New York Heart Associationfunctional class. Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were significantlycorrelated with variables of inflammation (C-reactive proteinand interleukin 6 levels), oxidative burden (serum phospholipidand glutathione levels), and cell adhesion (vascular cell adhesionmolecule 1 and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 levels).
Conclusions Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitaminD levels are independently associated with all-cause and cardiovascularmortality. A causal relationship has yet to be proved by intervention trials using vitamin D.
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