Vitamin D Gets a 'D' on this Test

Nutrient may not affect cardiovascular mortality in older adults, after all

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Despite increasing interest in the myriad benefits of vitamin D, researchers at the University of California, San Diego found no independent link between serum levels of vitamin D and cardiovascular mortality in a recent study.

In the first study of its kind involving a population of older community-dwelling adults with low prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and adequate kidney function, researchers collected data from the Rancho Bernardo study, which was established in 1972. A total of 1091 participants between 1997 and 1999 attended a follow-up visit where blood samples were collected, along with details of medical history, medications, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and exercise.

After adjusting only for age, there was no independent association between serum levels of vitamin D or intact parathyroid hormone and cardiovascular mortality, said lead investigator Simerjot K. Jassal, MD, Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Department of Medicine at UCSD.

In patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), low levels of vitamin D and high levels of intact parathyroid hormone have been suggested to explain the link between CKD and cardiovascular mortality.

"Prior published literature in community-dwelling adults suggests an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality only in individuals with vitamin D levels lower than levels observed here," said Jassal. "Our null results may mean that only larger disruptions in levels of (vitamin D) contribute to cardiovascular mortality."

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Review Date: 
December 17, 2010
Last Updated:
December 21, 2010