A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has revealed the crucial relevance of adequate levels of vitamin D in childhood. Previous studies have demonstrated that low vitamin D are related to increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
This study associated low levels of vitamin D to adult artherosclerosis over 25 years later by examining the relationship between low childhood vitamin D levels and adult increased carotid intima-thickness (IMT). IMT is a recognized marker of structural atherosclerosis, which correlates with cardiovascular risk factors, and predicts cardiovascular events.
The research participants consisted of 2,148 subjects from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, aged 3-18 years at baseline. Follow up and examination of participants occurred at age 30-45 years. Childhood levels of vitamin D were measured from stored serum. Carotid IMT was measured on the posterior wall of the left carotid artery using ultrasound technology.
The study findings revealed that study subjects with the lowest levels of vitamin D in childhood had a significantly higher prevalence of high-risk structural atherosclerosis markers as adults.
“More research is needed to investigate whether low vitamin D levels have a causal role in the development increased carotid artery thickness,” Juonala said. “Nevertheless, our observations highlight the importance of providing children with a diet that includes sufficient vitamin D.”
Markus Juonala, Atte Voipio, Katja Pahkala, Jorma S. A. Viikari, Vera Mikkilä, Mika Kähönen, Nina Hutri-Kähönen, Antti Jula, David Burgner, Matthew A. Sabin, Jukka Marniemi, Britt-Marie Loo, Tomi Laitinen, Eero Jokinen, Leena Taittonen, Costan G. Magnussen, Olli T. Raitakari. Childhood 25-OH Vitamin D Levels and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Adulthood: The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2015; jc.2014-3944 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2014-3944