Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of premature death

A new study by the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego found that people who had less than 10 nanograms/milliliter of vitamin D in their blood were twice as likely to die over a nine-year period as people who had at least 30 ng/ml of vitamin D.

The finding comes from a review of 32 previous studies that included analyses of vitamin D blood levels and mortality rates in more than 500,000 people from 14 countries. The average age of participants when their blood was drawn and tested for vitamin D levels was 55. The results suggest that the target level of vitamin D that people should aim for should be raised, told Cedric Garland, professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego.
The main reason for vitamin D deficiency is usually insufficient exposure to sunlight, so it’s recommended that people spend at least 10 minutes a day exposed to sunlight. Taking supplements can also help people make sure they get enough of the vitamin, he said.
Dr. Eric Newman, a resident at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, who was not involved in the study recommended that people get tested for vitamin D. “Vitamin D is important in so many aspects,” including cancer prevention and overall well-being, he added. However, “it is difficult to get the amount [of vitamin D] you need entirely through diet.”

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