HealthDay News — Low levels of vitamin D in childhood and teen years can raise risk of atherosclerosis as an adult, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The study included 2,148 people in Finland. Their vitamin D levels were measured at ages 3 to 18, and they were checked for atherosclerosis at ages 30 to 45.

The researchers found that those with the lowest vitamin D levels when they were young had a much higher risk for atherosclerosis as adults. This link was independent of other cardiovascular disease risk factors such as elevated blood pressure, smoking, poor eating, lack of exercise, and obesity.

Further research is needed to learn if low vitamin D levels actually contribute to atherosclerosis, but the findings highlight the need to ensure children get adequate levels of vitamin D in their diet, said study author Markus Juonala, MD, in a journal news release. Juonala is a specialist in internal medicine and endocrinology at the University of Turku in Finland.


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Reference

  1. Juonala M et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015; doi: 10.1210/jc.2014-3944.