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Vitamin D Deficiency Associated With Higher Risk of Premature Death

A large number of Americans have low vitamin D blood levels, which has long been associated with a higher risk of bone disease. A recent study suggests that vitamin D deficiency may pose even more of a health risk, as people with low levels of vitamin D were found to be twice as likely to die prematurely than those with higher levels.

For this analysis, researchers examined 32 studies that examined vitamin D blood levels and premature mortality. Across all of the studies, the average age when blood was drawn was 55 and the average length of follow-up was nine years. The included studies had 566,583 total participants spread across 14 countries.

The highest blood level of vitamin D - 30 ng/mL or more - was associated with half the risk of premature death when compared with the lowest level - 0-9 ngm/mL.

Researchers from University of California San Diego, Harvard School of Public Health, Sunlight and Nutrition Research Center, Grassroots Health, and University of Creighton conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 12, 2014, in the American Journal of Public Health.

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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