News flash! Nate Dogg dead at 41 from stroke – low vitamin D?

African-Americans have the lowest levels of vitamin D in the US population. In fact, 97% have levels below 30 ng/mL, the absolute lowest level needed to maintain good health.

We now know that low vitamin D levels  greatly increase the risk for stroke and other heart and vessel diseases. Low vitamin D also promotes the development of atherosclerosis Рhardening of the arteries Рa dangerous disease that leads to stroke and heart attacks.

Vitamin D levels are dramatically lower than just 20 years ago.

Percent with Low Vitamin D by Age - based on Arch Intern Med 2009; 169

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Back then, over half of Americans under 40 had adequate vitamin D levels. Now less than a quarter do.

Back then, vitamin D levels gradually dropped with age. Now low levels dominate all age groups.

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If we look by ethnic and racial groups, we see that an even worse picture.

Percent with Low Vitamin D by Group - based on Arch Intern Med 2009; 169

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While vitamin D levels have dropped in every group of Americans, African-Americans have a horrendous situation – only 3% have adequate levels. Among other groups, only 9% of Asian-Americans, 10% of Hispanic-Americans, and 29% of Caucasian Americans have adequate levels.

Seeing these numbers, it is no surprise that even affluent African-Americans still have far more strokes and heart attacks than any other segment of our society.

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The good news is that correcting low vitamin D is both easy and cheap. A few pennies a day can purchase the vitamin D drops or pills to provide the 2,000 to 4,000 units a day that will get most Americans to healthy levels over several months.

To reap long-term health benefits from better vitamin D levels, you must maintain those good levels indefinitely, which means taking the right amount of vitamin D forever.

Want to avoid a stroke or heart attack at a young age? Have your vitamin D level checked along with your cholesterol level. Get both of them into healthy ranges. It could save your life.

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Tomorrow’s post – pregnancy and vitamin D – is there enough D in a prenatal vitamin?

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