This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
The importance of vitamin D for health has been the topic of extensive research over the past decade. Suboptimal levels of the prohormone are known to compromise immunity, cardiovascular health, bone health and normal metabolism.
The result of a new meta-analysis study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that adequate circulating vitamin D reduces the risk of all-cause mortality by 29 percent.
Vitamin D has been shown to provide the blueprint required for healthy DNA replication of cellular structures. Low levels of the sunshine vitamin dramatically increase the incidence of many cancer lines as genetic mutations proliferate. Millions of at-risk people can protect themselves by ensuring normal blood saturation levels through a simple blood test and prudent sun exposure or supplementation.
Vitamin D Shown to Lower All-Cause Mortality by Nearly 30 Percent
Vitamin D deficiency runs rampant in the aging population around the world. Researchers estimate that correcting this deficiency by doubling the typically low vitamin D levels would result in a 20 percent mortality reduction. A body of evidence shows that senior adults with the lowest level of vitamin D blood saturation more than double their risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.
Researchers performed a large meta-analysis of 11 vitamin D studies including 59,231 individuals. They compared individuals in the highest quartile with those in the lowest quartile and found the increased risk of early mortality from all causes was 29 percent. As blood levels dropped below 30 ng/mL, the risk for death went up in a linear manner.
It is important to note that 50 percent of U.S. citizens have vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL and 40 percent have major deficiency (below 20 ng/mL), problems made worse by lack of sun exposure in the winter.
Vitamin D Lowers Colorectal Cancer Risk by 40 Percent
In an independent and supporting body of research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, scientists from the National Cancer Center in Tokyo found that the highest levels of vitamin D blood saturation lowered the risk of colorectal cancer by 40 percent.
In their study of 737 people with colon cancer and 703 cancer-free individuals, researchers found that those with the highest levels of vitamin D and increased levels of calcium experienced the lowest risk from this common form of cancer.
World-renowned vitamin D expert Dr. Michael Holick commented on the results, noting, “Maintaining optimal vitamin D status is important for reducing risk of colorectal cancer independent of the calcium effect.”
Many nutrition experts recommend maintaining vitamin D levels between 50 and 100 ng/mL as measured by a 25(OH)D blood test. New evidence suggests that calcium provided from natural food sources (590 mg per day) provides a synergistic effect with vitamin D to dramatically lower all-cause mortality.
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 Grant WB. An estimate of the global reduction in mortality rates through doubling vitamin D levels. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011; 65, 1016-26.
 Zittermann A. Vitamin D deficiency and mortality risk in the general population: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jan;95(1):91-100. [Epub ahead of print.]
 Yamaji T. Association Between Plasma 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Colorectal Adenoma According to Dietary Calcium Intake and Vitamin D Receptor Polymorphism. Am J Epidemiol. 2011. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr295.