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The role of vitamin D focused on the maintenance of skeletal health in the older adult. Unsplash

Researchers have found that free and circulating vitamin D levels in the blood may be a better predictor of future health risks in ageing men.

Vit D deficiency is associated with a higher risk for developing many ageing-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis, according to the study, presented at e-ECE 2020 online conference on Tuesday.


There are several forms, or metabolites, of vitn D in the body but it is the total amount of these metabolites that are most often used to assess the vit D status of people, the researchers said.

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The prohormone, 25-dihydroxy vitamin D is converted to 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D, which is considered the active form of vitamin D in our body. More than 99 per cent of all vitamin D metabolites in our blood are bound to proteins, so only a very small fraction is free to be biologically active. Therefore the free, active forms may be a better predictor of current and future health.


Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is critical to bone health and strength. As the Vitamin D Council explains, without the vitamin, our bodies may lose bone tissue, leading to bone pain, muscle weakness and possible skeletal deformity. Unsplash

For the findings, the research team from University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium investigated whether the free metabolites of vitamin D were better health predictors, using data from the European Male Ageing Study, which was collected from 1,970 men, aged 40-79.

Want to read more in hindi? Check out: कोरोना काल में भी फतेहपुर के स्कूल में जलती रही जागरुकता की मशाल- शिक्षक दिवस विशेष

The levels of total and free metabolites of vit D were compared with their current health status, adjusting for potentially confounding factors, including age, body mass index, smoking and self-reported health.The total levels of both free and bound vitamin D metabolites were associated with a higher risk of death. However, only free 25-hydroxyvitamin D was predictive of future health problems and not free 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D.

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“These data further confirm that vit D deficiency is associated with a negative impact on general health and can be predictive of a higher risk of death,” said study author Leen Antonio from University Hospitals Leuven.”Most studies focus on the association between total 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and age-related disease and mortality,” Antonio added.

According to the team, as 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D is the active form of vitamin D in our body, it was possible it could have been a stronger predictor for disease and mortality. It has also been debated if the total or free vit D levels should be measured.”Our data now suggest that both total and free 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are the better measures of future health risk in men,” said Antonio. (IANS)


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