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Do Vitamin D Deficient Seniors Have A Higher Mortality Rate?

A study published in the November 2009 issue of the Journal Clinical Endocrinology shows once again that low vitamin D levels may seriously increase the rate of mortality for more mature people.

Researchers from the Medical University of Graz in Austria recruited 614 men and women with an average age of 70 for the study.

Blood levels of vitamin D were measured at the beginning of the study and again 6 years later at the end of the study.

Over the course of the 6 year follow-up, 51 deaths were documented and 20 of those deaths were directly related to cardiovascular complications.

The researchers found that participants with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D had a 124% increased risk of all-cause mortality and a 378% increased risk of cardiovascular mortality.

The researchers noted that this study was not designed to determine the mechanism behind their findings; however, these results are likely due to the fact that Vitamin D is essential for muscular and skeletal health.

Johns Hopkins researchers also published similar findings earlier this year in the journal Nutrition Research. They attributed their results to Vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory compounds, role in regulating immune health and ability to lower blood pressure and reduce arterial hardening.

As more and more research mounts backing the necessity of Vitamin D for mature individuals, scientists are pushing for higher daily recommendations.

Currently nearly 9 out of 10 mature adults have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. So many seniors are deficient because the primary way to get vitamin D is through exposure to the sun, however as you age your skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing the vitamin.

The easiest way to avoid vitamin D deficiency is by taking a daily supplement. Eating more foods fortified with the vitamin, such as milk, cereal, orange juice and yogurt is also a good solution.

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