Taylor & Francis Group
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Low levels of vitamin D are associated with multimorbidity: Results from the LifeLines Cohort Study

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Version 2 2015-10-08, 15:13
Version 1 2015-08-18, 00:00
posted on 2015-10-08, 15:13 authored by Laura M. G. Meems, Martin H. de Borst, Dirkje S. Postma, Judith M. Vonk, Hubertus P. H. Kremer, Marie-Louise A. Schuttelaar, Judith G. M. Rosmalen, Rinse K. Weersma, Bruce H. R. Wolffenbuttel, Salome Scholtens, Ronald P. Stolk, Ido P. Kema, Gerjan Navis, Mohsin A. F. Khan, Pim van der Harst, Rudolf A. de Boer

Background. The prevalence of multimorbidity (≥ 1 disease within an individual) is rapidly increasing. So far, studies on the relationship between vitamin D and morbidity are mainly focusing on effects on single disease domains only, while vitamin D biology is associated with several diseases throughout the human body.

Methods. We studied 8,726 participants from the LifeLines Cohort Study (a cross-sectional, population-based cohort study) and used the self-developed composite morbidity score to study the association between vitamin D levels and multimorbidity.

Results. Study participants (mean age 45 ± 13 years, 73% females) had a mean plasma vitamin D level of 59 ± 22 nmol/L. In participants aged between 50 and 60 years, 58% had ≥ 2 affected disease domains, while morbidity score increased with age (70–80 years: 82% morbidity score > 1; > 80 years: 89% morbidity score > 1). Each incremental reduction by 1 standard deviation (SD) of vitamin D level was associated with an 8% higher morbidity score (full model OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.88–0.97, P = 0.001). Participants with vitamin D levels < 25 nmol/L were at highest risk for increasing morbidity prevalence (versus > 80 nmol/L, OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.07–1.67, P = 0.01).

Conclusions. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with higher prevalence of multimorbidity, especially in participants with vitamin D levels < 25 nmol/L. Collectively, our results favor a general, rather than an organ-specific, approach when assessing the impact of vitamin D deficiency.