(NaturalNews) Medical researchers have been sounding the alarm about the importance of maintaining optimal vitamin D levels from childhood through to the adult years, but millions of aging adults remain grossly deficient in this critical hormone-based nutrient. Vitamin D has demonstrated efficacy in preventing diseases from cancer to cardiovascular disease and dementia. Every cell in the body is now known to have vitamin D receptors where the nutrient provides an essential key to accurate DNA and cellular replication.
A research team from Wake Forest School of Medicine has published the results of an important study on vitamin D and disease risk in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM). The study purports that low levels of vitamin D and high levels of parathyroid hormone are associated with increased mortality in older African American and Caucasian adults. Prior studies on the effects of low vitamin D levels have been conducted on persons of European origin, but this study distinguishes important differences in disease risk between blacks and whites.
Low vitamin D levels are a significant risk factor for disease development and early deathThe lead study researcher, Dr. Steven Kritchevsky noted "We observed vitamin D insufficiency (defined as blood levels less than 20 ng/ml), in one third of our study participants. This was associated with nearly a 50 percent increase in the mortality rate in older adults... our findings suggest that low levels of vitamin D may be a substantial public health concern for our nation's older adults." It's important to note that while sun exposure provides a plentiful supply of circulating vitamin D during our younger years, continual warnings to avoid the sun and a natural tendency to produce less of the prohormone from sun exposure as we age, places older adults in a dangerously depleted state.
The study included 2,638 Caucasian and African-American adults, aged 70 to 79. For the baseline reading, participants fasted for 12 hours and blood was drawn and tested to determine levels of vitamin D. Every six months, the study's volunteers were contacted to assess their medical condition. Disease rates were then correlated with vitamin D levels to determine mortality and cause of death. The scientists factored in time of year and degree of sun exposure.
The researchers determined that vitamin D levels under than 30 ng/mL were associated with significantly increased all-cause mortality. Other studies have concluded that even higher vitamin D levels (50 to 70 ng/mL) provided optimal health risk protection. Adults of all ages should have their vitamin D blood saturation checked regularly using the reliable 25(OH)D test, and supplement as necessary to maintain blood levels in the ideal range