Low vitamin D levels explains most ESRD risk in African-Americans

Oct 29, 2009

Low levels of vitamin D may account for nearly 60 percent of the elevated risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans, according to a report in the December Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). "Our study adds to previous evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to the progression of kidney disease and the need for dialysis," comments Michal L. Melamed, MD, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Bronx, NY). "It also explains a fair amount of the increased risk of ESRD in African Americans." Vitamin D is obtained from sun exposure, food and food supplements.

Melamed and colleagues analyzed a nationwide sample of 13,000 Americans, including measurements of the metabolite 25(OH)D. Medicare data were used to identify participants who eventually required dialysis therapy for ESRD. "We found that the participants with the lowest 25(OH)D levels were 2.6 times as likely to end up on dialysis compared to those with higher levels," says Melamed.

The researchers then tested whether 25(OH)D levels could contribute to the higher risk of ESRD in African Americans, compared to whites. "African Americans have lower 25(OH)D levels and a higher risk of ESRD," Melamed explains. "We found that 25(OH)D deficiency was responsible for about 58 percent of the excess risk for ESRD experienced by African Americans."

Vitamin D deficiency is a very common problem in the United States. In recent years, studies have linked low vitamin D to many different health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, cancers, and heart disease. The new results add to previous evidence that low 25(OH)D levels are an important risk factor for ESRD. "This is another good reason to make sure that people get enough vitamin D," Melamed adds.

Although it can't prove any cause-and-effect relationship, the study also suggests that vitamin D deficiency is a key contributor to the high risk of ESRD in African Americans. More research is needed to confirm these findings, and to determine whether treatment to raise low vitamin D levels can help to preserve kidney function. "We are currently in the process of enrolling for a clinical trial of vitamin D repletion in patients with chronic to further test these hypotheses," says Melamed.

Source: American Society of Nephrology (news : web)

Explore further: Public overinflates time spent by dermatologists on cosmetic Tx

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Vitamin D linked to reduced mortality rate in CKD

May 07, 2008

For patients with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease (CKD), treatment with activated vitamin D may reduce the risk of death by approximately one-fourth, suggests a study in the August Journal of the American Society of ...

Millions of US children low in vitamin D (w/ Video)

Aug 03, 2009

Seven out of ten U.S. children have low levels of vitamin D, raising their risk of bone and heart disease, according to a study of over 6,000 children by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. ...

Recommended for you

Independent safety investigation needed in the NHS

37 minutes ago

The NHS should follow the lead of aviation and other safety-critical industries and establish an independent safety investigation agency, according to a paper published today by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The au ...

Sexual fantasies: Are you normal?

4 hours ago

Hoping for sex with two women is common but fantasizing about golden showers is not. That's just one of the findings from a research project that scientifically defines sexual deviation for the first time ever. It was undertaken ...

AMA 'Code of Ethics' offers guidance for physicians

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The American Medical Association (AMA) Code of Ethics and other articles provide guidance for physicians in relation to public health emergencies, according to a report from the AMA.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) Oct 29, 2009
This should get 10 stars for bringing attention to this problem in darker skinned peoples!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.