Osteoporosis International

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 991–999 | Cite as

Low serum vitamin D is associated with increased mortality in elderly men: MrOS Sweden

  • H. JohanssonEmail author
  • A. Odén
  • J. Kanis
  • E. McCloskey
  • M. Lorentzon
  • Ö. Ljunggren
  • M. K. Karlsson
  • P. M. Thorsby
  • Å. Tivesten
  • E. Barrett-Connor
  • C. Ohlsson
  • D. Mellström
Original Article



In elderly man, low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) was associated with a substantial excess risk of death compared to 25(OH)D values greater than 50–70 nmol/l, but the association attenuated with time.


The aim of the present study was to determine whether poor vitamin D status was associated with an increase in the risk of death in elderly men.


We studied the relationship between serum 25(OH)D and the risk of death in 2,878 elderly men drawn from the population and recruited to the MrOS study in Sweden. Baseline data included general health and lifestyle measures and serum 25(OH)D measured by competitive RIA. Men were followed for up to 8.2 years (average 6.0 years).


Mortality adjusted for comorbidities decreased by 5% for each SD increase in 25(OH)D overall (gradient of risk 1.05; 95% confidence interval 0.96–1.14). The predictive value of 25(OH)D for death was greatest below a threshold value of 50–70 nmol/l, was greatest at approximately 3 years after baseline and thereafter decreased with time.


Low serum 25(OH)D is associated with a substantial excess risk of death compared to 25(OH)D values greater than 50–70 nmol/l, but the association attenuates with time. These findings, if causally related, have important implications for intervention in elderly men.


Comorbidity Interaction with time Mortality Population studies Serum vitamin D Spline Poisson regression model 


Conflicts of interest

JAK and EVM consult for a large number of companies involved in skeletal metabolism but have no competing interest to declare in relation to the context of this paper.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Johansson
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Odén
    • 1
  • J. Kanis
    • 2
  • E. McCloskey
    • 2
  • M. Lorentzon
    • 1
  • Ö. Ljunggren
    • 3
  • M. K. Karlsson
    • 4
  • P. M. Thorsby
    • 7
  • Å. Tivesten
    • 6
  • E. Barrett-Connor
    • 5
  • C. Ohlsson
    • 1
  • D. Mellström
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Bone and Arthritis Research (CBAR) at the Sahlgrenska Academy, Institute of MedicineUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.WHO Collaborating Centre for Metabolic Bone DiseasesUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  3. 3.Department of Medical SciencesUniversity of UppsalaUppsalaSweden
  4. 4.Clinical and Molecular Osteoporosis Research Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University and Department of OrthopaedicsMalmö University HospitalMalmöSweden
  5. 5.Department of Family and Preventive MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  6. 6.Wallenberg Laboratory for Cardiovascular Research, Institute of MedicineUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  7. 7.Hormone LaboratoryOslo University HospitalOsloNorway

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