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Nutrients 2015, 7(5), 3264-3278; doi:10.3390/nu7053264

Vitamin D as a Resilience Factor, Helpful for Survival of Potentially Fatal Conditions: A Hypothesis Emerging from Recent Findings of the ESTHER Cohort Study and the CHANCES Consortium

German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)-Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Aging Research, Im Neuenheimer Feld 581, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
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Received: 5 March 2015 / Revised: 2 April 2015 / Accepted: 24 April 2015 / Published: 6 May 2015
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Abstract

There is debate on whether vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for major chronic diseases and premature death or whether observed associations were just confounded by general health status. Here, we review recent results from the Epidemiologische Studie zu Chancen der Verhütung, Früherkennung und optimierten Therapie chronischer Erkrankungen in der älteren Bevölkerung (ESTHER) cohort study and the Consortium on Heatlh and Ageing: Network of Cohorts from Europe and the United States (CHANCES) that suggest that vitamin D deficiency may not be a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases and cancer but may be a risk factor for fatal instances of these diseases. Furthermore, analyses comprehensively adjusted for the health status showed that the association of vitamin D and mortality was very likely not confounded by general health status. These results suggest that vitamin D could be a marker of resilience to fatality of potentially fatal diseases. Sufficient vitamin D serum concentrations may be needed to regulate the response of the immune system when it is challenged by severe diseases to prevent a fatal course of the disease. If this hypothesis can be verified through basic research studies and adequately designed randomized controlled trials, it could have important public health implications because vitamin D deficiency is very common worldwide, and interventions could be implemented easily. View Full-Text
Keywords: vitamin D; mortality; death; cardiovascular disease; cancer; review vitamin D; mortality; death; cardiovascular disease; cancer; review
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Schöttker, B.; Brenner, H. Vitamin D as a Resilience Factor, Helpful for Survival of Potentially Fatal Conditions: A Hypothesis Emerging from Recent Findings of the ESTHER Cohort Study and the CHANCES Consortium. Nutrients 2015, 7, 3264-3278.

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