Vitamin D deficiency may lead to a greater risk of cardiovascular-related death among black Americans compared to whites, a new study concludes.
Researchers from the University of California, Davis and the University of Rochester found that adults with the greatest deficiency of vitamin D had a 40 percent higher risk of dying from cardiac illness.
Furthermore, the study found that African Americans had a 38 percent greater risk of death than Caucasians. As vitamin D levels rose, cardiovascular-related fatalities fell.
Scientists believe that there are several genetic factors common to black people that hinder the ability to absorb the compound, including a darker skin pigment that reduces vitamin D synthesis and a higher incidence of lactose intolerance.
"Our study suggests that the next step would be to intervene to boost vitamin D levels safely with supplements," said lead author Kevin Fiscella.
Dr. James O’Keefe, director of preventive cardiology at the Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, recommends that most people take 2,000 IU of the compound every day. African Americans may need up to 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day.