Skip to content

    Heart Disease Health Center

    Font Size

    Low Level of Vitamin D Ups Death Risk

    Study Shows Increased Risk of Death From Any Cause
    By Caroline Wilbert
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Aug. 11, 2008 -- Very low levels of vitamin D are linked to increased risk of death, according to a new study.

    Michal Melamed, MD, MHS, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine and colleagues report their study in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

    The research team analyzed a diverse sample of 13,000 men and women participating in an ongoing national health survey and compared the risk of death between those with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D to those with higher levels.

    Over an average follow-up period of about nine years, 1,806 participants died. The researchers found a 26% increased risk of death from any cause for the quartile of participants with the lowest vitamin D levels compared to those with the highest levels.

    Other studies have linked low levels of vitamin D to diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and being obese, the researchers note.

    Analysis of the data did not find an association between vitamin D levels and death from specific causes such as heart disease or certain cancers.

    "Our results make it much more clear that all men and women concerned about their overall health should more closely monitor their blood levels of vitamin D and make sure they have enough," says researcher Erin Michos, MD, in a news release. Michos is an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart and Vascular Institute.

    To increase one's vitamin D, a person can get direct exposure to sunlight, take supplements, and eat foods rich in vitamin D including milk, salmon, cod liver oil, mackerel, tuna or sardines canned in oil, egg yolks, and calf or beef liver.

    Today on WebMD

    x-ray of human heart
    A visual guide.
    atrial fibrillation
    Symptoms and causes.
    heart rate graph
    10 things to never do.
    heart rate
    Get the facts.
    empty football helmet
    red wine
    eating blueberries
    Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
    Inside A Heart Attack
    Omega 3 Sources
    Salt Shockers
    lowering blood pressure