‘Strong evidence’ links Vitamin D deficiency to an early death

Nov 03, 2022
Over a 14-year follow-up period, researchers found that the risk of death significantly decreased with increased levels of vitamin D concentrations. Source: Getty Images.

A lack of Vitamin D has long been linked to a number of health problems, however, recent research has now found “strong evidence” that a Vitamin D deficiency is associated with premature death.

The Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Mortality Risk in the UK Biobank study from the University of South Australia evaluated 307,601 records from the UK Biobank, noting low levels of vitamin D as less than <25 nmol/L with the average concentration found to be 45.2 nmol/L.

Over a 14-year follow-up period, researchers found that the risk of death significantly decreased with increased levels of vitamin D concentrations, with the greatest impacts seen among those with severe deficiencies.

The findings have triggered calls for people to maintain adequate Vitamin D levels to decrease the risk of mortality.

First author and University of South Australia PhD candidate, Josh Sutherland, said the “study provides strong evidence for the connection between low levels of vitamin D and mortality”.

“While severe vitamin D deficiency is rarer in Australia than elsewhere in the world, it can still affect those who have health vulnerabilities, the elderly, and those who do not acquire enough vitamin D from healthy sun exposure and dietary sources,” Sutherland said.

“This is the first study of its kind to also include respiratory disease-related mortality as an outcome.

“We used a new genetic method to explore and affirm the non-linear relationships that we’ve seen in observational settings, and through this we’ve been able give strong evidence for the connection between low vitamin D status and premature death.

“Vitamin D deficiency has been connected with mortality, but as clinical trials have often failed to recruit people with low vitamin D levels – or have been prohibited from including vitamin deficient participants – it’s been challenging to establish causal relationships.”

Senior investigator and Director of UniSA’s Australian Centre for Precision Health, Professor Elina Hyppönen, hopes the findings can establish effective strategies to help reduce the risk of premature death linked to low Vitamin D levels.

“The take-home message here is simple – the key is in the prevention. It is not good enough to think about vitamin D deficiency when already facing life-challenging situations, when early action could make all the difference,” Hyppönen said.

“It is very important to continue public health efforts to ensure the vulnerable and elderly maintain sufficient vitamin D levels throughout the year.”




IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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