The Longer Life Vitamin?

Vitamin D3 helps older women live longer

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

(RxWiki News) There's been a great deal of buzz lately surrounding Vitamin D. The so-called sunshine vitamin supports a number of health conditions. Scientists have added life to that list.

Giving elderly women in institutional settings Vitamin D seems to extend their lives. One theory is that not having enough of this vitamin the increases risk of falls and fractures that can be fatal.

"Take Vitamin D3 for a healthier, longer life."

An international team of eight scientists analyzed 50 randomized trials that involved a total of 94,148 participants. Most of the participants - 79 percent - were women in their mid-70s.

Researchers found that Vitamin D3 reduces mortality by roughly 6 percent, according to lead investigator, Dr. Goran Bjelakovic of the University of Nis, in Serbia and The Copenhagen Trial Unit in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Looking it at these statistics another way, Dr. Bjelakovic says that means if 200 people were given Vitamin D3 for about two years, it would save one additional life.

Vitamin D3 is sometimes called the "sunshine vitamin" because  exposure to sunlight produces the nutrient.

While research into other forms of Vitamin D are scant, this team didn't find benefits in taking Vitamin D2 or alfacalcidol or calcitriol, the active forms of the vitamin.

Researchers did find that alfacalcidol and calcitriol dramatically increased the risk of hypercalcaemia (too much calcium in the blood), while vitamin D3 + calcium significantly increased the risk of kidney stones.

Dr. Bjelakovic says additional research is needed to look at the benefits of the all forms of Vitamin D.

The study is published in the The Cochrane Library.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 13, 2011
Last Updated:
October 21, 2012