The results of a systematic view recently published in the American Journal of Public Health , involving more that 560,000 people confirms what a number of studies conducted over the past decade have indicated: that having a higher vitamin D level is associated with a lower risk of dying prematurely.

Cedric Garland, DrPH and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego selected 32 studies that provided data on a total of 566,583 men and women for their analysis. They determined that having a vitamin D level of 30 ng/mL is associated with approximately half the risk of dying over an average nine years of follow-up in comparison with lower levels. Dr Garland, who is a professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego, noted that serum levels of vitamin D lower than 30 ng/mL are estimated to exist in two-thirds of the United States population.

“Three years ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that having a too-low blood level of vitamin D was hazardous,” he stated. “This study supports that conclusion, but goes one step further. 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, not just bone diseases.”

“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,” commented Heather Hofflich, DO, also of UC San Diego. “However, it’s always wise to consult your physician when changing your intake of vitamin D and to have your blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D checked annually.”