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Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality in observational studies. The specific causes of death underlying this association lack clarity. We investigated the association between vitamin D status and cause-specific mortality. We included a total of 9,146 individuals from the two population-based studies, Monica10 and Inter99, conducted in 1993-94 and 1999-2001, respectively. Vitamin D status was assessed as serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Information on causes of death was obtained from The Danish Register of Causes of Death until 31 December 2009. There were a total of 832 deaths (median follow-up 10.3 years). Multivariable Cox regression analyses with age as underlying time axis and vitamin D quartiles showed significant associations between vitamin D status and death caused by diseases of the respiratory system, the digestive system, and endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases with hazard ratios (HRs) 0.26 (p(trend) = 0.0042), 0.28 (p(trend) = 0.0040), and 0.21 (p(trend) = 0.035), respectively, for the fourth vitamin D quartile compared to the first. We found non-significantly lower HRs for death caused by mental and behavioural diseases and diseases of the nervous system, but no association between vitamin D status and death caused by neoplasms or diseases of the circulatory system. The associations of vitamin D status and cause-specific mortality suggest that we also look elsewhere (than to cardiovascular disease and cancer) to explain the inverse association between vitamin D status and mortality.


Tea Skaaby, Lise Lotte Nystrup Husemoen, Charlotta Pisinger, Torben Jørgensen, Betina Heinsbæk Thuesen, Mogens Fenger, Allan Linneberg. Vitamin D status and cause-specific mortality: a general population study. PloS one. 2012;7(12):e52423

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PMID: 23285034

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