Recent findings from Germany’s ESTHER study (an ongoing population-based cohort study) reveal a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease or any cause in men and women with higher serum levels of vitamin D.
In comparison with sufficient levels, being deficient in vitamin D was associated with a 42 percent greater risk of dying of cancer, a 39 percent greater risk of dying of cardiovascular disease and a 250% greater risk of dying of respiratory disease.
Reporting online on February 27, 2013 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Ben Schöttker and his colleagues at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg describe the results of their study of 9,949 subjects between the ages of 50 to 74 upon enrollment in ESTHER. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels were measured upon enrollment and at a five year follow-up visit. The subjects were followed for a median of 9.5 years, during which 1,083 deaths occurred.
Subjects whose serum vitamin D levels were between 12-20 ng/mL (30 to 50 nmol/L), which was classified as insufficient, had a 17 percent higher risk of dying from any cause in comparison with those whose levels were categorized as sufficient at greater than 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). For those with deficient levels of less than 12 ng/mL (30 nmol/L), the risk of dying increased to 71 percent higher than that experienced by subjects with sufficient levels.
“Our results support the importance of additional research on the potential of lowering mortality by ensuring an adequate vitamin D supply,” they conclude.