Newly Published Studies Point to Links between Low Vitamin D levels, Fatal Cardiovascular Events, and Inflammation

Authors of a study published in Diabetes and Endocrinology reviewed data from 172 randomized controlled trials and 290 prospective cohort studies to determine if low vitamin D levels [i.e., 25(OH)D] were causally related or consequentially related to ill health. Most of the studies revealed a strong inverse relationship between vitamin D levels and lipids, cardiovascular disease, glucose metabolism disorders, inflammation and all-cause mortality. Low vitamin D levels, based on this data set, were a marker of ill health and the authors suggested that inflammatory processes involved in these disease states may have led to the low vitamin D levels.

In the December 2013 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism a large prospective review of a cohort study with 9949 subjects aged 50 to 74 years (59% women, 41% men) looked at vitamin D levels [i.e., 25(OH)D] collected at baseline, five, and eight years. Most prior studies evaluating the relationship between cardiovascular risk and vitamin D looked at a single measurement of vitamin D. There was a mean follow-up of 9.2 years in this study which looked at cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease (CHD), and stroke endpoints. According to authors Drs. Laura Perna and Ben Schottker, even though the results confirmed about a 27% increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in subjects with vitamin D deficiency, the data revealed “that the risk is much stronger (and possibly confined to) fatal CVD events.” The authors suggested that the stronger association between low vitamin D levels and CVD mortality may be related to “more severe events.”

References:

Autier P, Boniol M, Pizot C, et al. Vitamin D status and ill health: a systematic approach. The Lancent Diab & Endocrin 2014;2:76-89.

Perna L, Schöttker B, Holleczek B, et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and incidence of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events: a prospective study with repeated measurements. J Clin Endocrin Metab 2013; 98:4908-4915.

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