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Childhood Vitamin D Levels May Be Linked to Hardened Arteries in Adulthood

Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart disease. A recent study suggests that having low blood levels of vitamin D in childhood may be associated with increased risk of atherosclerosis in adulthood.

Participants in the study included 2,148 people who took part in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. They were all between 3 and 18 years old at the start of the study and all were re-examined between the ages of 30 and 45.

Vitamin D levels from childhood were measured using stored serum. Carotid intima-thickness (IMT) of the left carotid artery was measured using an ultrasound. IMT is a biomarker of structural atherosclerosis, which correlates with cardiovascular risk factors.

The researchers found that the participants who had the lowest vitamin D levels as children had a 21.9% risk of high-risk IMT, whereas those who had the highest levels had only a 12.7% risk.

Researchers from the University of Turku in Finland conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on February 10, 2015, in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Previous studies have associated vitamin D with reducing the risk of skin damage, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related macular degeneration.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.

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