Researchers find strong link between vitamin D deficiency and diabetes-related deaths

After examining data from nearly 80,000 patients, researchers found that blood levels of vitamin D <10 nanomol/L were associated with a two- to three-fold increased risk of death.

Vitamin D capsules

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased mortality and is particularly associated with diabetes-related deaths, according to research presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting in Barcelona, Spain, on 19 September 2019[1]
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Researchers at the Medical University of Vienna examined the records of 78,581 patients who had their 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25D) levels measured between 1991 and 2011.

During this period (median 10.5 years follow up), there were 11,877 deaths.

Compared with vitamin D blood levels of 50 nanomol/L, used as the cut-off level for vitamin D deficiency, levels of <10 nanomol/L were associated with a two- to three-fold increased risk of death. The association was most pronounced in younger and middle-aged groups, and the association between diabetes and vitamin D deficiency was especially strong, with a four-fold increased risk of death (hazard ratio 4.4; 95% confidence interval 3.1–6.3).

In contrast, levels of ≥90 nanomol/L were associated with up to a 40% reduction in all-cause mortality. 

“Our findings strengthen the rationale for wide-spread vitamin D supplementation … [and] emphasise the need for it early in life,” the researchers concluded.

References

[1] Marculescu R, Endler G, Yang L et al. European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting. 16–20 September 2019. Barcelona, Spain.

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, October 2019;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20207184