(HealthDay News) — Having genetically low levels of vitamin D may raise the risk of early death, but the risk is not linked with early death due to cardiovascular (CV)-related causes, according to new research published online in The BMJ.

The study, by Borge Nordestgaard, MD, of Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues involved 95,766 white people of Danish descent in Copenhagen. The participants, who were from three different groups, had genetic variants known to affect levels of vitamin D

The researchers also considered other factors that could affect the participants’ vitamin D levels, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, physical activity levels, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and BMI.

By the time the study ended in 2013, 10,349 of the participants had died. The researchers found that genetically low vitamin D levels were linked with early death from any cause, but not CV-related events. The researchers concluded that death from problems involving the heart could be due to other risk factors, and not gene variants linked to low vitamin D levels. 

“The clinical implications of our findings remain limited, as widespread vitamin D supplementation can be recommended only after benefit is shown in randomized intervention trials,” the researchers wrote.

Researchers at the British Heart Foundation Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre agreed, saying in an accompanying editorial that “more data are required to confirm these findings.” 

They noted, however, several trials involving vitamin D supplementation will begin to be published in 2017.


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  2. Welsh P and Sattar N. BMJ. 2014;doi:10.1136/bmj.g6599.