A study shows that lower levels of vitamin D in African-Americans may partially explain the higher risk of cardiovascular death in black people compared with white people in the United States.
Researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 15,000 adults who participated in a government-run health survey from 1988 through 1994. By the end of 2000, 933 had died of cardiovascular causes.
When the researchers sorted people into four groups based on their vitamin D levels at the start of the study, those who had the lowest levels were 40 percent more likely to have died of cardiovascular causes. Overall, black people were 38 percent more likely to have died than white people. But for black people who had higher vitamin D levels, the risk fell to 14 percent higher than white people. For black people with both higher vitamin D and higher income, the difference disappeared.
A retrospective study like this one can’t prove cause and effect. Also, the ways vitamin D might affect cardiovascular disease are not well understood.
Boston.com has contributed to the report.
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