New research finds optimal vitamin D levels reduced risk of diabetes by 52%

New research finds optimal vitamin D levels reduced risk of diabetes by 52%

A new study presented at the meeting of the American Heart Association reports that optimal ranges of vitamin D levels promote decreased health risks.

At the 84th annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association, November 12-16 in Orlando, FL, a study presented by the Intermountain Medical Center (IMC) based in Murray, UT, measured 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood levels in 132,000 Americans.

The data corroborates what was previously published showing that those with higher vitamin D blood levels have substantially lower risks of degenerative disease. For example, those whose 25-hydroxyvitamin D ranged from 61-80 ng/mL had a 52% reduced risk of diabetes compared to those with deficient levels below 20 ng/mL.

Even though the data presented at the American Heart Association conference is not yet published, Life Extension® is sending an advisory to its members to ensure they maintain sufficient 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to protect their health, but to not exceed upper limit levels established several years ago by Life Extension® and mainstream medicine.

In the study, those whose 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels ranged 81-100 ng/mL had a 36% reduction in hypertension incidence when measured against the deficient group. Compared to people in the deficient range, those with higher blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D had significantly lower risk of heart failure, depression, coronary artery disease, kidney failure and prior stroke.  

There was a warning issued when 25-hydroxyvitamin D exceeded 100 ng/mL. These individuals showed a much greater risk of atrial fibrillation.

In the January 2010 issue of Life Extension Magazine®, startling findings were reported that 85% of Life Extension members had less than optimal levels of vitamin D in their blood (below

50 ng/mL) as measured by 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Based on the current scientific data available, Life Extension has identified an optimal range of 25-hydroxyvitamin D for health between 50-80 ng/mL.

“Since most of our members are aware of the importance of optimal vitamin D levels, frank deficiency levels less than 20 ng/ml are unusual, though we still see the need for consistent dosing to ensure optimal vitamin D status,” said William Faloon, Life Extension founder.

A young person who spends many hours in the summer sun often has 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels greater than 50 ng/mL, yet as people age their body converts less sunlight into vitamin D. Aging people often require supplementation with 5,000-7,000 IU of vitamin D a day to obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level over 50 ng/mL.

 “Out of this large group of IMC study participants, a small number (291 or 0.22%) had 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels over 100 ng/mL,” said Faloon. 

“This high level exceeds what Life Extension, as well as other scientific experts in vitamin D metabolism, have long recommended,” Faloon added..

Those whose 25-hydroxyvitamin D level exceeded 100 ng/mL had an atrial fibrillation incidence greater than those who were in the safe ranges below 100 ng/mL.

As the population ages, an increasing percentage develops an irregular rhythm in the upper chambers of the heart called atrial fibrillation. It is the most common type of heart arrhythmia and approximately 5% of persons over 65 years of age are expected to be diagnosed with it.

Study authors recommended people have their blood tested to ensure they are taking the proper dose of vitamin D. Life Extension magazine had previously noted a wide dose-response variability with vitamin D and recommended 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood tests to evaluate whether or not the optimal range of between 50-80 ng/mL has been achieved.

“Atrial fibrillation is usually accompanied by symptoms related to a rapid heart rate,” said Dr. Steven Joyal, MD, Life Extension’s chief medical officer.

 “Rapid and irregular heart rate can contribute to heart palpitations, easy fatigue, shortness of breath, and exercise intolerance. Sometimes atrial fibrillation can produce chest pain in response to strenuous activity. An electrocardiogram test can usually diagnose atrial fibrillation,” noted Joyal.

The primary danger of atrial fibrillation is that it can create an abnormal blood clot to form in the left atrial chamber that breaks away and travels up the carotid artery causing a stroke. Patients with atrial fibrillation are usually prescribed anti-arrhythmic and anti-coagulant drugs to reduce this risk. 

Ideally, the underlying cause of atrial fibrillation like hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) or lung disease is identified and corrected so the problem goes away. Some cases of atrial fibrillation resolve spontaneously and require no treatment.

Life Extension meticulously tracks the scientific literature to look for trends that may indicate beneficial or detrimental impact on health and lifespan, and then communicates this information to Life Extension members to help them make informed decisions about their welfare.

Based on the findings reported at the American Heart Association conference, Life Extension has further support based upon current science for an optimal range of 25-hydroxyvitamin D between 50 to 80 ng/mL for health and wellness. Levels that exceed 100 ng/mL should be avoided, which can be readily identified via low-cost blood testing.

“The more common challenge is someone taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day and higher and still not being able to reach an adequate 25-hydroxyvitamin D level,” said Dr. Joyal.

Life Extension, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL, has been researching and reporting breakthroughs in medicine and longevity science since 1980. The extensive line of products with scientifically-evaluated ingredients from Life Extension, are designed to help people live healthier. 

Additional 25-hydroxyvitamin D information is available from

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