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Low Vitamin D Tied to Premature Death

People with low blood levels of vitamin D are more likely to die prematurely than those with normal levels, a new analysis has found.

Previous studies have suggested that low levels of the vitamin are associated with higher risk for breast and other cancers and for coronary heart disease.

There is still no general agreement about what constitutes an ideal level of Vitamin D. But for the current analysis, researchers pooled data from 32 studies and found that people with a blood level below 9 nanograms per milliliter had almost double the risk of premature death compared with those with levels of 50 or higher. Levels above 50 conferred no extra benefit. The study was published online in The American Journal of Public Health.

All the studies adjusted for age, and some for B.M.I., physical activity, race, smoking or other variables. One study adjusted for 17 other risks, but the association of low vitamin D with premature death persisted.

Should people be taking supplements to raise their vitamin D blood levels?

The lead author, Cedric F. Garland, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego, said there was little danger in taking vitamin D supplements, "as long as we keep blood levels below 200 nanograms per milliliter."




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