Recent research by scientists at the University of South Australia has revealed that vitamin D deficiency can cause premature death.
Multiple studies have shown the harms of low vitamin D levels. Estimates show that nearly 40% of adults in the US are deficient. The figures could be even worse for countries that are not developed and health-focused.
Vitamin D is a micronutrient that keeps the muscles and bones strong. Before the recent study, there was not enough evidence to prove that low levels of this vitamin could actually lead to premature death but now, study author and UniSA PhD candidate Josh Sutherland explains, the UniSA study has gathered sufficient proof.
The deficiency is most common in older adults, those with generally poorer health, and people who do not absorb enough vitamin D via sun exposure and diet.
“This is the first study of its kind to also include respiratory disease-related mortality as an outcome,” Sutherland said.
He said that the research team used a genetic method “to explore and affirm the non-linear relationships that we’ve seen in observational settings”.
Till now, it had been difficult to establish a causal relationship between early death and vitamin D deficiency.
Experts studied data from 307,601 patients provided by the UK Biobank.
Another surprising finding of the study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine was that people who had more severe deficiencies bounced back healthier upon treatment and their “risk of death significantly decreased”.
“The key is in the prevention,” said Professor Elina Hyppönen, senior investigator and Director of UniSA’s Australian Centre for Precision Health, adding that public health interventions were crucial in the matter.