Monday, November 12, 2012

Low levels of vitamin D linked to long life

The relationship between food and nutritional substances and health are a complex matter, and while we generally know what is good for us and what is not, there are still a lot of things that are unknown to us. This is highlighted by a recent study on the effect of vitamin D and its relationship to longevity, which showed that low levels of the substance is associated with a longer life.

A cohort consisting of people from the age of 90 years and older were enrolled in the study, as well as their children, which means it is possible to look at the influence of genetics and heredity. The researchers, working at the University Medical Center of Leiden, assessed the levels of vitamin D in the elderly, as well as in their children. The partners of the children were included as a control group.

The scientists found that the elderly people, as well as their children had lower levels of vitamin D than in the control group. In addition, they found that an enzyme that is used in the body to generate higher levels of the vitamin was also present in lower levels. This seems to indicate that there is something happening in the body that results in lower-than-average levels of vitamin D, which may be a factor that promotes long life.

Humans need vitamin D to stay in good health. A lack of this vitamin has been linked to all kinds of diseases, but curiously enough, the total of 380 families enrolled in the study point at longer life, instead of shorter. Obviously, the study setup consisted of a retrospective analysis (the subjects had already attained old age), which means the findings need to be validated and elaborated upon in a prospective study. 

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