by Craig Weatherby
We all know that vitamin D is even more important than calcium when it comes to bone health, because it's needed to get calcium into bones.
But it's become crystal clear that the critical health effects of vitamin D extend well beyond bones to the entire body.
At about the same time, Canadian researchers published findings that affirmed earlier indications that vitamin D may protect against breast cancer.
(For more on those studies and others, see “Vitamin D Roundup: Breast Health, Mortality, and Baby Teeth,” and search our newsletter archive for “vitamin d.”)
Now, the results of a new University of Colorado analysis of health data from 3,400 Americans affirms the prior reports linking low vitamin D levels to higher death and heart risks.
And a Columbia University study published in June once again links low vitamin D levels to higher breast cancer risks.
Let’s take a closer look at both of the new American studies.
National survey data links death and heart risk to low vitamin D levels
The results of a “case-control” study indicates that older people with low blood levels of vitamin D may be 2.5 times more likely to die from any cause—and three times more likely to die from heart disease.
These risks were calculated in comparison to people with adequate levels of the “sunshine and seafood” vitamin.
The subjects were participating in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They enrolled between 1988 and 1994 and were followed until 2000.
After an average of 7 years of follow-up, 1,493 people died, including 767 who died from cardiovascular disease.
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