Both Low and High vitamin D Levels Increase the Risk of Death

 

vitamin D levels increase the risk of death

Both high and low vitamin D levels increase the risk of death from CVD

 

New study finds that both low and high vitamin D levels increase the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Vitamin D is found in fatty fish and as a fortifier in dairy products, cereal and juices. Though it’s possible to get high enough amounts of the vitamin in diet alone, the main source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. Low blood levels of vitamin D is common in the northern hemisphere where there’s less sunlight, but since low levels are associated with an increased risk of diseases and death supplements are often proposed as a way to solve this problem. Now new research discovers that low levels of vitamin D isn’t the only danger, high levels of the vitamin also increases the risk of dying from some causes.

Low and High Vitamin D Levels Increase the Risk of Death from CVD

The results have just been published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Earlier studies have found that low levels of vitamin D might be linked to negative health effects like prostate cancer and dementia. These types of studies increase the likelihood of people to start using supplements, but this new study concludes that this might not be the right way to go.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmarks analyzed data from 247,574 Danes participating in the the CopD Study. The aim was to investigate a possible link between vitamin D levels and the risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases. Over a seven year period 16,645 people in the study died. Analyzing blood samples of patients who died and comparing those to healthy people revealed a correlation between vitamin D levels and an increased risk of dying.

Blood levels of vitamin D equaling 70 nmol/L had the lowest risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Earlier studies have found that very low blood levels of vitamin D equals a higher risk of death, a find that also was confirmed in this study. Participants with extremely low vitamin D levels, around 12.5 nmol/L, had double the risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases. Researchers also found that low levels of the vitamin isn’t the only danger.

High levels of vitamin D, around 125 nmol/L, showed a 30% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Even if the increased risk was smaller than in those with low blood levels, this correlation have not been seen previously.

“These are very important results, because there is such great focus on eating vitamin D. We should use this information to ask ourselves whether or not we should continue to eat vitamins and nutritional supplements as if they were sweets. You shouldn’t simply up the dose to feel better. We should only consume such vitamins in close coordination with our GP”, Peter Schwartz Professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine and study leader.

Image Credit: Colin Dunn via flickr.com, CC BY-2.0