Exposing your skin to the Sun may help you live long as people with lower blood levels of vitamin D are twice as likely to die prematurely as compared to people with higher blood levels of vitamin D, research suggests.
“Three years ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) – the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences in the US – concluded that having a too-low blood level of vitamin D was hazardous,” said Cedric Garland, a professor at University of California, San Diego.
The new study supports that conclusion but goes one step further, Garland added.
The 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) blood level cutoff assumed from the IOM report was based solely on the association of low vitamin D with risk of bone disease.
This new finding is based on the association of low vitamin D with risk of premature death from all causes and not just bone diseases, Garland explained.
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The study included residents of 14 countries, including the United States, and data from 566,583 participants.
The average age when the blood was drawn in this study was 55 years; the average length of follow-up was nine years.
The blood level amount of vitamin D associated with about half of the death rate was 30 ng/ml, Garland added.
“This study should give the medical community and public substantial reassurance that vitamin D is safe when used in appropriate doses up to 4,000 International Units (IU) per day,” Heather Hofflich, a professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine, noted.
The study appeared in American Journal of Public Health.