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Vitamin D and mortality: meta-analysis of individual participant data from a large consortium of cohort studies from Europe and the United States

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 17 June 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3656

Rapid Response:

A large consortium study (2014) has linked Vitamin D deficiency to all-cause and cardiovascular mortality (1)

It is interesting to note that crucial components of a healthy diet such as vitamin D are researched in isolation. Vitamin D is synthesized from cholesterol and found in cholesterol-rich foods. The co-factors: Magnesium, Vitamin K, Zinc, Vitamin A and Boron are required for its absorption. These facts appear to be ignored within research studies.

Rather than reinvent the wheel this observation has been eloquently observed by Chris Masterjohn (Vitamin D is Synthesized from Cholesterol and Found in Cholesterol-Rich Foods) who states:

Since cholesterol is a precursor to vitamin D, inhibiting the synthesis of cholesterol will also inhibit the synthesis of vitamin D. Since sunlight is required to turn cholesterol into vitamin D, avoiding the sun will likewise undermine our ability to synthesize vitamin D. And since vitamin D-rich foods are also rich in cholesterol, low-cholesterol diets are inherently deficient in vitamin D.

Vitamin D is best known for its role in calcium metabolism and bone health, but new roles are continually being discovered for it, including roles in mental health, blood sugar regulation, the immune system, and cancer prevention. Yet standard modern advice -- take cholesterol-lowering drugs, avoid the sun, eat a low-cholesterol diet -- combined with a recommended daily intake of vitamin D that is only a tenth of what many researchers believe to be sufficient all seems to pave the way for widespread vitamin D deficiency. (2)

(1) Vitamin D and mortality: meta-analysis of individual participant data from a large consortium of cohort studies from Europe and the United States. Ben Schöttker, postdoctoral scientist1, Rolf Jorde, professor23, Anne Peasey, postdoctoral scientist4, Barbara Thorand, senior researcher in epidemiology5, Eugène H J M Jansen, postdoctoral scientist6, Lisette de Groot, professor of nutrition and ageing7, Martinette Streppel, postdoctoral scientist7, Julian Gardiner, research associate4, José Manuèl Ordóñez-Mena, PhD candidate18, Laura Perna, postdoctoral scientist1, Tom Wilsgaard, professor9, Wolfgang Rathmann, senior researcher in epidemiology10, Edith Feskens, professor7, Ellen Kampman, professor7, Galatios Siganos, research associate9, Inger Njølstad, professor9, Ellisiv Bøgeberg Mathiesen, professor11, Růžena Kubínová, senior researcher12, Andrzej Pająk, professor13, Roman Topor-Madry, senior researcher13, Abdonas Tamosiunas, professor14, Maria Hughes, postdoctoral scientist15, Frank Kee, professor15, Martin Bobak, professor4, Antonia Trichopoulou, professor1617, Paolo Boffetta, professor1618, Hermann Brenner, professor1 on behalf of the Consortium on Health and Ageing: Network of Cohorts in Europe and the United States (CHANCES) BMJ 2014;348:g3656,

(2) Vitamin D is Synthesized From Cholesterol and Found in Cholesterol-Rich Foods May 25, 2006 by Chris Masterjohn

Competing interests: No competing interests

30 June 2014
Jane E Collis Collis
Independent Health Resercher
Kenilworth UK