Skip to comments.Insufficient levels of vitamin D puts elderly at increased risk of dying from heart disease
Posted on 09/21/2009 3:47:33 PM PDT by decimon
A new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Denver and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) shows vitamin D plays a vital role in reducing the risk of death associated with older age. The research, just published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, evaluated the association between vitamin D levels in the blood and the death rates of those 65 and older. The study found that older adults with insufficient levels of vitamin D die from heart disease at greater rates that those with adequate levels of the vitamin.
"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," said Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine's Division of Emergency Medicine and lead author on the study. "Given the aging population and the simplicity of increasing a person's level of vitamin D, a small improvement in death rates could have a substantial impact on public health."
Older adults are at high risk for vitamin D deficiency because their skin has less exposure to the sun due to more limited outdoor activities as well as reduced ability to make vitamin D.
The study analyzed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. The research team analyzed vitamin D in blood samples of more than 3,400 participants that were selected to be representative of the 24 million older adults in the United States. Compared to those with optimal vitamin D status, those with low vitamin D levels were 3 times more likely to die from heart disease and 2.5 times more likely to die from any cause.
Dr. Ginde says the findings suggest that current daily recommendations of vitamin D may not be enough for older adults to maintain optimal health. The research team has applied for research funding from the National Institutes of Health to perform a large, population-based clinical trial of vitamin D supplementation in older adults to see if it can improve survival and reduce the incidence of heart disease.
"Confirmation of these results in large randomized trials is critically important for advancing public health," says Carlos Camargo, MD, DrPH, of the MGH Department of Emergency Medicine, the senior author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The study looking at elderly death rates is the second of two studies by the same team of researchers on vitamin D and general health. The first study, published in Archives of Internal Medicine earlier this year, identified vitamin D as playing a significant role in boosting the immune system and warding off colds and flu.
"Vitamin D has health effects that go beyond strong bones," says Ginde. "It's likely that it makes a vital contribution to good health."
Faculty at the University of Colorado Denver's School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, The Children's Hospital, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Degrees offered by the UC Denver School of Medicine include doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, and masters of physician assistant studies. The School is located on the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. For additional news and information, please visit the UC Denver newsroom online (http://ucdenver.edu/about/newsroom/Pages/Newsroom.aspx).
Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of $550 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine. For more information, visit http://www.massgeneral.org.
I take 2000iu of D3 daily...
I see all these healthy food shows...none of them say DRINK MILK.
The vitamin D guru, Dr. Cannell, has been saying 5,000 IU.
My Rad Onc (Prostate Cancer) mentioned to me that at least 2000iu D3 per day was needed. So far my D levels are satisfactory, but the more I read the more I realize how important it is—especially in the elderly.
The question is whether it is cause or effect. Vitamin D levels are directly related to sun exposure and healthy elderly get more sun than the infirmed.
It would be interesting to see if a double blind study with Vitamin D supplementation has the same effect.
I upped my dosage to 2000 today after listening to the Fox News Doc yesterday. He must have seen this study.
I am mid 50’s, in the sun maybe hours per day, and very active outdoors. However, my D3 is low in the normal range if that makes sense. If you look at normal ranges I am the lowest point in that range. How that can happen with all the sun exposure is beyond me, but it’s a fact. Since being Dx’d with Prostate Cancer in 07, I have taken a 2000iu D3 supplement daily.
Save for later.
I would urge everyone to take vitamin D supplements during the late fall, winter and spring months. Vitamin D helps boost your immune system. Since we make less vitamin D in winter because we get less sun and absorb less sunlight in our skin then to synthesize vitamin D, make sure to take extra to keep your immune systems boosted.
I’d recommend other things but this will help your body all on its own.
I saw something on the HIH website about latitudes and adequate sunlight for making vitamin D.
IIRC, north of Boston there is inadequate sunlight from November through February for the making of any vitamin D. South of somewhere in South Carolina there is always adequate sunlight.
That may be true, but also consider the age of the person too. AS you age your body doesn’t do things as efficiently as it used to, so it sure doesn’t hurt to augment your body’s production of anything that helps the immune system.
General rule is that most people are deficient in vitamins, rather than having normal or surplus levels of them.
that’s interesting info
probably here in Indiana similar
I try to be outside 45 mins daily
my dog loves to walk no matter if cold, hot, wet, frozen or whatever
How far north do you live and how dark is your skin? If you live in the higher lititudes, you may never get enough UV light to make Vitamin D even you are out all day.
It’s been a long time since I sat in a biochemistry or a physiology class but I do remember that there is a maximum dose of Vitamin D that your body will make regardless of your skin color or UV content of the light. The body modulates the ammount of precursors available in the skin. Your thermostat may be set low.
Strange that you run low, you are definately a good candidate for supplementation. What do you run with 2000IU/day?
5000 is what I take.
Due to my profound consideration for innocent bystanders, I keep my belly covered. I get letters from complete strangers thanking me.
I am in Texas where there is plenty of sun, and have fair skin. With the supplement, I stay in the mid-low ranges of normal, but high enough that more D3 is not needed...
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