Vitamin D supplementation may increase life expectancy

September 12, 2007 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Vitamin D supplementation may increase life expectancy

Adults who supplement with at least 500 IU (international units) of vitamin D each day have been found to have a 7 per cent lower risk of dying from any disease, say European researchers.

In an analysis of pooled data from 18 randomized, controlled clinical trials, more than 57,000 adults over 65 were tracked for nearly six years. The researchers found that subjects with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had the lowest risk of dying from any medical cause. The highest levels of vitamin D were found in subjects who took vitamin D supplements, as opposed to those who obtained it from food or sun exposure alone.

Previous studies have found that vitamin D may prevent bone loss, heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Scientists are unsure how vitamin D may prevent disease. It's thought that the nutrient may play a role in halting cell growth, including abnormal cancer cell growth.

In June 2007, the Canadian Cancer Society started recommending that adults supplement with 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day during the fall and winter months. Dark-skinned and older adults should consider year-round supplementation of 1,000 IU of vitamin D.

The authors of this study hope their findings will lead to discussions about vitamin D fortification and higher vitamin D recommended intakes.

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