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Vitamin D Levels Linked to Cardiovascular Mortality

Lower levels among African-Americans may explain racial disparities observed in CV mortality

TUESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Low vitamin D levels are associated with increased cardiovascular mortality, and may explain why African-Americans have higher rates of cardiovascular mortality than Caucasians, according to a study in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Kevin Fiscella, M.D., of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York, and colleagues analyzed data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1988 to 1994 and cause-specific mortality through 2001 from the National Death Index.

Compared to subjects with the three highest quartiles of vitamin D levels, the researchers found that those in the lowest quartile had a higher adjusted risk of cardiovascular death (incident rate ratio, 1.40). They also found that the higher age- and sex-adjusted cardiovascular mortality among African-Americans (incident rate ratio, 1.38) was reduced after adjustment for vitamin D levels (incident rate ratio, 1.14) and eliminated after additional adjustment for income (incident rate ratio, 1.01).

"Randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation in those with low 25(OH)D levels are needed to determine whether optimization of these levels improves outcomes from cardiovascular mortality, particularly among blacks, who bear a disproportionate burden of cardiovascular disease," the authors conclude.

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