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Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Jan 15;177(2):171-9. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws348. Epub 2012 Nov 1.

A prospective study of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d levels and mortality among African Americans and non-African Americans.

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International Epidemiology Institute, Rockville, Maryland, USA.


The beneficial biologic effects attributed to vitamin D suggest a potential to influence overall mortality. Evidence addressing this hypothesis is limited, especially for African Americans who have a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency. The authors conducted a nested case-control study within the prospective Southern Community Cohort Study to relate baseline serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) with subsequent mortality. Cases were 1,852 participants who enrolled from 2002 to 2009 and died >12 months postenrollment. Controls (n = 1,852) were matched on race, sex, age, enrollment site, and blood collection date. The odds ratios for quartile 1 (<10.18 ng/mL) versus quartile 4 (>21.64 ng/mL) levels of 25(OH)D were 1.60 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.20, 2.14) for African Americans and 2.11 (95% CI: 1.39, 3.21) for non-African Americans. The effects were strongest for circulatory disease death, where quartile 1 versus quartile 4 odds ratios were 2.53 (95% CI: 1.44, 4.46) and 3.25 (95% CI: 1.33, 7.93) for African Americans and non-African Americans, respectively. The estimated odds of total mortality were minimized in the 25(OH)D range of 35-40 ng/mL. These findings provide support for the hypothesis that vitamin D status may have an important influence on mortality for both African Americans and non-African Americans.

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