Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Could vitamin D actually be decreasing your lifespan?

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There’s been a great deal of buzz lately about how vitamin and mineral supplements aren’t all that great after all. Obviously, they’re no substitute for a good diet. you can’t just eat nutrient-poor food all day, pop a multivitamin, and expect to be the picture of health. However, I’m still not convinced that they’re not beneficial for those of us who consume healthy diets that may just be a little low in some nutrients on occasion.

One study in particular caught my eye: Levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in familial longevity: the Leiden Longevity Study. This study looked at the vitamin D levels in the children of nonagenarians¬†(i.e. people in their nineties) and compared their vitamin D levels to those of children of non-nonagenarians. They found that the children of nonagenarians¬†had lower levels of vitamin D than the controls did. Seriously? Without even looking closely at the methodology and results of this study I can fairly confidently say that this is a terrible study. How does research like this even get published? Just because these people have at least one parent who lived into their nineties doesn’t mean that they themselves are going to live into their nineties. Also, it’s possible that higher levels of vitamin D may not affect your lifespan but they may affect your healthspan. Just because a person has survived into their nineties doesn’t mean that they’ve been healthy enough to enjoy all of those years.

I’m not taking vitamin D supplements to try to live into my nineties. I don’t think anyone should be. However, many of us may wish to take vitamin D supplements to avoid negative effects of deficiency, maintain strong bones, and obtain other possible health benefits.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

3 thoughts on “Could vitamin D actually be decreasing your lifespan?

  1. Do you have a suggestion for a particular vitamin D supplement? I took Dr. Joel Furhman’s D3 supplement and seem to have gotten a rapid heartbeat from that…..arggghhh. My resting heartbeat is usually around 55-65, but suddenly it was sometimes up to 80 or 90!!! As I reviewed any changes in the past few weeks prior to that happening, I came up with the D supplement and so stopped taking that just to see and within a few days my resting heart rate went back to normal. I realize that’s not scientific proof of anthing, but my doctor said some people do have that reaction to D and she suggested I take a lower dose vitamin D supplement. I’m torn about taking any at all based on recent information discussed into your article, but then again…..it’s winter in Michigan and my vitamin D is definitely low.

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    • Hi Robin. I can’t provide you with specific advice as I don’t know enough about your medical history. I do have a few thoughts though…

      Have you discussed options with your doctor?

      Some medications may cause an irregular heartbeat when taken with vitamin D as vitamin D increases calcium absorption.

      You’re right in thinking that we usually benefit from a vitamin D supplement during the winter months. However, if you’re experiencing side effects like this it may not be worth your while. Try to consume foods that contain vitamin D. It might also be worth looking into a sunlamp so that your body can produce the vitamin D itself.

      I hope that’s helpful!

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      • It is helpful, thanks!

        I plan to discuss the sun lamp option with my doctor.

        I am on a low dose of hydrochlorithiazide (12.5 mg) so that may have been a factor since I just read that can increase vitamin d and affect calcium levels.

        I’ve been focusing on a nutrient dense diet and your suggestions make sense.

        Thanks for taking the time to respond!

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