A new research states that the deficiency of vitamin D can lead to mortality, particularly deaths related to diabetes. The risk is particularly present in adolescents and adults. It is published in journal Revue d’Épidémiologie et de Santé Publique and is available online to read.
Dr. Rodrig Marculescu and his colleagues conducted the research. They investigated the effects of vitamin D levels in the blood as well as on cause-specific mortality in a large study group.
The study groups included people of all ages. They also included a population of old age with minimal supplementation of vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is present all over the world. However, it is an easily correctable leading factor for early death. Different studies performed at different times have shown the association of vitamin D deficiency with mortality rates.
However, most of the past researches have focused on old age. Moreover, vitamin D supplementation in older age has affected the findings of many other studies.
The researchers collected the recorded data of 78,581 participants from 1911 to 2011 with a mean age of 51 years. Their vitamin D levels were measured at that time. the team followed the participants for a median of 10.5 years.
Blood levels of vitamin D and mortality risks
Researchers used 50 mmol/L, the cut-off value for vitamin D deficiency as the reference value. The high and low values set for the risk assessment were 90 mmol/L and 10 mmol/L, respectively.
Researchers found that blood vitamin D levels of 10 mmol/L or less increased the mortality risks up to 2-3 folds. They observed this result in people between 45-60 years.
On the other hand, vitamin D levels more than 90 mmol/L showed an association with decreased all-cause mortality risks. The reduction in the rate was 30-40% in people of age 45-60 years.
However, for people above 75 years, researchers found no significant link between vitamin D and mortality risks.
Considering the cause-specific mortality rates, researchers found the strong association of vitamin D with diseases other than CVDs and cancer. The strongest effect was observed in people between 45-60 years of age.
Among these diseases, the risk was particularly present for diabetes. The risk present in vitamin D deficient people was 4.4% higher for deaths due to diabetes than the healthy population.
Concluding the results of the study
Researchers plotted the risk of death regarding vitamin D levels in different age groups. They found that the levels above 100 mmol/L did not appear as a risk factor for mortality.
Thus, this finding cleared the doubts regarding any negative effect of the high concentration of vitamin D.
The research team concluded that the data was obtained from a large cohort. It covered people from all age groups. This also included people of old age group with minimal vitamin D supplementation.
The study confirms a strong link between deficiency of vitamin D (less than 50 mmol/L) and increased mortality. The association is particularly present in younger and middle-aged groups. This was also significant for diseases other than CVDs and cancer such as diabetes.
Therefore, the study provides a basic guideline to promote vitamin D supplementation in vulnerable groups to prevent mortality. The supplementation is particularly necessary for young age and adolescence.