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Study Links Vitamin D Levels to Metabolic Health
By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, May 30, 2012, abstracted from “Vitamin D Levels Predict All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality in Subjects With the Metabolic Syndrome” in the May 2012 issue of Diabetes Care
Metabolic Syndrome affects over 47 million Americans.  It is characterized by excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen (called “central obesity”), increased blood pressure (130/85 mmHg or higher), and insulin resistance (the body can’t properly use insulin to control blood sugar) (1).  Its $4,000 yearly pharmacy cost per patient makes it “the most expensive disease you’ve never heard of” (2).
Now a new study (3) suggests that blood levels of vitamin D, shown previously to be linked to mental health (4), ovarian health (5), nerve health (6) and critical illness (7) may also benefit patients with metabolic syndrome.
In the study, 1,801 patients participating in the Ludwigshafen Risk and Cardiovascular Health study (8) and diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome were followed for an average of 7.7 years.  The researchers found a “clear” relationship between higher vitamin D levels and lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and peripheral vascular disease.  Specifically, compared to those with the lowest vitamin D blood levels (< 25 nanomoles/Liter = “severe deficiency”), those with the highest vitamin D blood levels (> 75 nmol/L = “optimal”) had:

62% lower rates of cardiovascular disease (5.6 vs. 14.8%, p = 0.001)
60% lower rates of type 2 diabetes (14.0 vs. 35.1%, p < 0.001)
69% lower rates of peripheral vascular disease (4.9 vs. 15.8%, p < 0.001)
Overall, those with the highest levels of vitamin D were found to have a 72% reduced risk of death (called “all-cause mortality”) and a 64% reduced risk from cardiovascular disease compared to those with the lowest levels of vitamin D (both highly statistically significant,p < 0.001).
For the researchers, “[Vitamin D blood levels] were dose-dependently associated with a robust reduction in all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in subjects with the metabolic syndrome.”
Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Hauppauge, NY.  You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at PitchingDoc@msn.com or visiting his web site at www.PitchingDoc.com

1.       American Heart Association Website: “Metabolic Syndrome” www.americanheart.org
2.       “Metabolic Syndrome: The Most Expensive Disease You’ve Never Heard Of” - http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/24042.php
3.       Thomas GN.  Vitamin D Levels Predict All-Cause and Cardiovascular DiseaseMortality in Subjects With the Metabolic Syndrome.  Diabetes Care 2012; 35:1158–1164
4.       Serum vitamin D concentrations are related to depression in young adult US population: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. International Archives of Medicine 2010, 3:29 doi:10.1186/1755-7682-3-29
5.       Toriola AT. Independent and joint effects of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and calcium on ovarian cancer risk: A prospective nested case-control study. Eur J Cancer 2010 Jun 18. [Epub ahead of print]
6.       Eisman JA. Vitamin D Deficiency in Critically Ill Patients. New Eng Jou Med 2009; 360(18): 1912-1914
7.       Mowry et al. Vitamin D status is associated with relapse rate in pediatric-onset MS. Annals of Neurology, 2010; DOI: 10.1002/ana.21972