Vitamin D: A Marker for Life Expectancy?

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High levels of vitamin D might protect people from an early death, according to an analysis of research from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany. Researchers examined 8 studies that together tracked more than 26,000 nonsmoking men and women between the ages of 50- and 79-years-old. About 6, 700 of these people died during the time period of the studies, mostly from heart disease and cancer. Results showed that people with the lowest vitamin D levels were 1.5-times more likely than those with the highest levels to die from any cause, especially heart disease. Those with low levels of vitamin D and a history of cancer were 1.7-times more likely to die from the disease. People with no history of cancer did not show any effects from vitamin D status on risk of cancer death. It is unclear how this vitamin prolongs life, but the researchers speculate it might have something to do with the vitamin’s hormone capabilities. 

Low vitamin D levels may contribute to an increased risk for high blood pressure, state researchers at the University of South Australia. 

Schottker B, Jorde R, Peasey A, et al: Vitamin D and mortality: Meta-analysis of individual participant data from a large consortium of cohort studies from Europe and the United States. British Medical Journal 2014;348:June 17th. 

Vimaleswaran K, Cavadino A, Berry D, et al: Association of vitamin D status with arterial blood pressure and hypertension risk. Lancet: Diabetes & Endocrinology 2014; June 25th.

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