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Fit centenarians have high vitamin D levels

A relatively high vitamin D level may enable you to reach a ripe old age and avoid chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes type-2 and cardiovascular disease. Spanish researchers suggest this in a letter submitted to the International Journal of Cardiology. The researchers studied disease-free centenarians and discovered that they had remarkably high levels of vitamin D in their blood.

Vitamin D3
The researchers measured the concentration of vitamin D3 - that's the same as 25-hydroxy vitamin D - in the blood of three groups of people. One group consisted of healthy people aged between 27 and 39 and another of people of the same age who had had a heart attack. A third group consisted of healthy men and women aged 100-104.

There are three sorts of centenarians, the Spaniards wrote. One kind consists of those who do have a chronic disease - such as cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular disease - or have had one, but have managed to survive. They are called the survivors. A second group have also had experience of disease but have managed to delay it: the delayers.

And then there's a third group: the centenarians who have avoided disease. These are the dodgers. The Spanish researchers studied the dodgers.

The researchers found that the participants who had had a heart attack had a low vitamin D level. All researchers of vitamin D have their own opinion as to what the optimal level of vitamin D is, but all agree that at a concentration of less than 20 nanograms of 25-hydroxy vitamin D per millilitre negative health effects start to occur.

And indeed, the participants who had had a heart attack had vitamin D levels below this line. The control group of the same age had levels just above the boundary.

Fit centenarians have high vitamin D levels

The researchers found the highest vitamin D levels in the healthy centenarians. This group had an average 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of over 30 nanograms per millilitre.

"Serum vitamin D levels seem to be associated with successful aging, possibly reflecting, among other physiological advantages, a highly conserved cardiovascular function", the researchers concluded. "The latter could play a central role in the extended life span of centenarians."

Int J Cardiol. 2015 Nov 15;199:405-6.

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Vitamin D