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Low Vitamin D Levels May Increase Mortality, Study Finds

Update Date: Nov 19, 2014 10:14 AM EST

Low blood vitamin D levels may increase mortality, a new study has shown. 

Vitamin D deficiency is generally linked to an increased risk of poor bone health. However, recently, studies have shown that low levels of this important vitamin also increases risk of other disease and higher mortality rates. 

The study is a first to establish a casual relationship between low vitamin D levels and increased mortality. 

"We have conducted a major Danish study, in which we have examined the connection between genes associated with permanent low levels of vitamin D and mortality. We can see that genes associated with low vitamin D levels involve an increased mortality rate of 30 per cent and, more specifically, a 40 per cent higher risk of cancer-related deaths. An important factor in our study is that we have established a causal relationship," said Shoaib Afzal, Medical Doctor at Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, in the press release.

"Our study shows that low vitamin D levels do result in higher mortality rates, but the best way of increasing vitamin D levels in the population remains unclear. We still need to establish the amount of vitamin D to be added, as well as how and when it is most effective: Should we get vitamin D from the sun, through our diet or as vitamin supplements? And should it be added in the foetal stage via the mother, during childhood or when we have reached adulthood?" added Børge Nordestgaard, Clinical Professor at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and Chief Physician at Copenhagen University Hospital.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal.

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