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Low Levels of Vitamin D May Be Deadly for Mature Adults

A study recently found that older individuals with inadequate levels of vitamin D may have an increased risk of mortality, particularly with regards to heart complications.

The study was published in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Researchers from the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine analyzed data from 3,400 individuals aged 65 and older who partook in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) between 1988-1994.

The participants were followed for an average of 7 years, during which time 1,493 deaths were documented, 767 of which were due to cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found that individuals with low vitamin D levels were 3 times more likely to die from heart disease and 2.5 times more likely to die from any cause than those with optimal blood levels.

A person's vitamin D blood level is called their 25(OH)D level. Optimal vitamin D status is attained at a level of at least 100 nanomoles of 25(OH)D. Participants in the study with low vitamin D levels had only 25 nanomoles of 25(OH)D.

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

The researchers hope these findings will help change the current daily recommendations for vitamin D for older individuals because the current recommendations are believed to be inadequate.

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin with many health benefits which range from bone health to heart health. In order to avoid vitamin D deficiency you may want to consider taking a supplement or eating more foods fortified with the vitamin, such as milk, cereal, orange juice and yogurt.

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