European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp 305–312 | Cite as

Association of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D with the risk of death in a general older population in Finland

  • Jyrki K. Virtanen
  • Tarja Nurmi
  • Sari Voutilainen
  • Jaakko Mursu
  • Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen
Original Contribution



To investigate the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration, a marker of vitamin D status, and risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in a general older population with relatively low average serum 25(OH)D concentrations.


The study population included 552 men and 584 women aged 53–73 years who were free of CVD and cancer at baseline in 1998–2001 from the prospective, population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study. Deaths were ascertained by a computer linkage to the national cause of death register. All deaths that occurred from the study entry to December 31, 2008, were included. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to analyze the association between serum 25(OH)D and risk of death.


The mean serum 25(OH)D concentration was 43.7 nmol/L (SD 17.8), with a strong seasonal variation. During the average follow-up of 9.1 years, 87 participants died, 35 from cardiovascular disease (CVD). After multivariable-adjustments, the hazard ratios (HR) for all cause death in the tertiles of serum 25(OH)D were 1, 1.68 (95% CI: 0.92, 3.07) and 2.06 (95% CI: 1.12, 3.80), p for trend = 0.02.


Our study supports the accumulating evidence from epidemiological studies that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of death. Large-scale primary prevention trials with vitamin D supplementation are warranted.


25-hydroxyvitamin D Mortality Prospective study Vitamin D 



We wish to thank our staff at the Research Institute of Public Health for helping with subject recruitment and data collection. The research was supported by the Academy of Finland grants #121206 to J.K. Virtanen and #114526 to T. Nurmi. None of the authors have conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jyrki K. Virtanen
    • 1
  • Tarja Nurmi
    • 1
  • Sari Voutilainen
    • 1
  • Jaakko Mursu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio Campus, Institute of Public Health and Clinical NutritionKuopioFinland
  2. 2.Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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