Adults who had low vitamin D levels as children and teens may be more likely to have hardening of the arteries, a new study suggests.Artery hardening is associated with heart disease,the study included more than 2,100 people in Finland.Their vitamin D levels were measured at ages 3 to 18, and they were checked for artery hardening at ages 30 to 45.
Those with the lowest vitamin D levels when they were youngsters had a much higher risk for artery hardening as adults, according to the study published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
This link was independent of other heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, poor eating, lack of exercise and obesity.Only an association was seen between childhood vitamin D levels and later heart health.The study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Further research is needed to learn if low vitamin D levels actually contribute to artery hardening, but the findings highlight the need to ensure children get adequate levels of vitamin D in their diet, said study author Dr. Markus Juonala in a journal news release. He is a specialist in internal medicine and endocrinology at the University of Turku in Finland.
Previous studies have found a connection between low vitamin D levels and increased risk of stroke and heart attack, according to background information from the researchers. They also say low vitamin D levels are common among children worldwide.