HealthDay News — Having genetically low levels of vitamin D may raise the risk of early death, but the risk is not linked with early death due to cardiovascular-related causes, according to research published in The BMJ.

“Whether low vitamin D concentrations are a cause of increased mortality or simply a consequence of poor health is thus unclear,” wrote Shoaib Afzal, MD, PhD, of Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues.

To determine if genetically low 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations are associated with increased mortality, the investigators examined 95,766 Caucasian patients of Danish descent in Copenhagen. The participants, who were from three different groups, had genetic variants known to affect vitamin D levels.

Other factors, such as drinking alcohol, smoking, physical activity levels, hypertension, and body mass index, were considered.

By the time the study ended in 2013, 10,349 of the participants had died. Genetically low vitamin D levels were linked with early death from any cause, but not cardiovascular-related events, reported the scientists.

Death from problems involving the heart could be due to other risk factors, and not gene variants linked to low vitamin D levels, the researchers concluded.

“The clinical implication of our findings remain limited, as widespread vitamin D supplementation can be recommended only after benefit is shown in randomized intervention trials,” wrote the investigators.


  1. Afzal S et al. The BMJ. 2014; doi: