(NaturalNews) The most comprehensive epidemiological review ever conducted on the association between vitamin D and mortality has revealed that low vitamin D levels are directly linked to early death from heart disease and other causes. Published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis Vascular, Biology, the study found that individuals with the lowest vitamin D levels have a significantly higher risk of developing ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction (MI), or fatal ischemic heart disease and MI, or dying an early death, compared to individuals with the highest vitamin D levels.
More than 10,000 men and women were included as part of the study, which took place at Copenhagen University Hospital (CUH) in Denmark beginning in the early 1980s, and which concluded last year. Each of the participants had his or her levels of plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D tested and verified at the onset of the study by researchers working on the Copenhagen City Heart Study, and these same participants were subsequently followed throughout the course of nearly 30 years to monitor for health developments.
Upon follow-up, it was determined that 3,100 participants eventually developed ischemic heart disease, while 1,625 had an MI, and another 6,747 died from these or another cause. But what is particularly interesting about these findings is the huge disparity in disease and death rates among those in the low vitamin D group compared to those in the high vitamin D group. Based on the figures, those with the lowest vitamin D levels, below five nanomoles per liter (nmol/L), were found to be 40 percent more likely to develop ischemic heart disease, 64 percent more likely to have an MI, and 57 percent more likely to die an early death. This same group was also found to be 81 percent more likely to die from ischemic heart disease or MI.
"People with low levels of vitamin D have an increased risk of heart attack, of dying early from cardiovascular disease, and this is an important message," explained study author Dr. Borge G. Nordestgaard to heartwire. "The cheapest and easiest way to get enough vitamin D is to let the sun shine on your skin at regular intervals. There's been a lot of focus on trying to avoid people getting too much sun, but maybe this has not been balanced."
Extensive review of all previous research confirms low vitamin D is a death sentence
To confirm the integrity of its own findings, the research team also conducted a meta-analysis of all earlier research on vitamin D and mortality -- the team identified 17 previous studies in total -- and found similar results. Decreasing levels of vitamin D were found to be directly associated with a higher risk of disease and death in virtually every study, proving that maintaining high vitamin D levels is crucial for optimal health.
"The meta-analysis gives exactly the same result as our study," added Dr. Nordestgaard. "So the results are quite robust when you look at the totality of the evidence."
To learn more about the many health benefits of vitamin D, and how best to take it when natural sunlight is not an option, check out the Vitamin D Council: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/