One night to walk 21km for cancer – 4 December | Last chance!

Vitamin D and all – death from any cause

Tuesday 28 September, 2021

Vitamin D helps our body absorb the calcium it needs for good health. Too-low levels of vitamin D can lead to fatigue and decreased energy levels, pain in your bones, joints or muscles, and an increased risk of osteoporosis. But vitamin deficiency is also associated with a higher risk of death overall (also known as “all-cause mortality”). The reasons for this are not clear, nor is it clear how it is associated with specific causes of death.

Researchers used Health 2020 data to give a more detailed picture of the link between vitamin D levels and cause-specific death (5). They measured the levels of vitamin D in blood samples from over 5,000 Health 2020 participants and analysed their health data.

Higher vitamin D levels were associated with a lower risk of death from cancer, especially colorectal cancer, as well as from respiratory diseases, (especially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and from digestive system diseases. Any associations of vitamin D with diabetes mortality and with death due to cardiovascular disease remain unclear, and require further study.

Reference:

5. Heath AK, Hodge AM, Ebeling PR, Kvaskoff D, Eyles DW, Giles GG, et al. Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and cause-specific mortality in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2020;198:105612.

Vitamin D
The name “vitamins” is given to types of molecules that our body needs but cannot make by itself and, therefore, needs to get from other sources – usually food.

Vitamin D is a special case: our skin cells make vitamin D when they are exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is also found in small amounts in some foods, such as eggs and fatty fish, but it is very difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone. The major source of vitamin D is via exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation.