Background: In cross-sectional studies, low serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D are associated with higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and disease. This study aimed to determine whether endogenous 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels are related to all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.
Methods: Prospective cohort study of 3258 consecutive male and female patients (mean [SD] age, 62  years) scheduled for coronary angiography at a single tertiary center. We formed quartiles according to 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels within each month of blood drawings. The main outcome measures were all-cause and cardiovascular deaths.
Results: During a median follow-up period of 7.7 years, 737 patients (22.6%) died, including 463 deaths from cardiovascular causes. Multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for patients in the lower two 25-hydroxyvitamin D quartiles (median, 7.6 and 13.3 ng/mL [to convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to nanomoles per liter, multiply by 2.496]) were higher for all-cause mortality (HR, 2.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.60-2.70; and HR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.17-2.01; respectively) and for cardiovascular mortality (HR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.57-3.13; and HR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.29-2.58; respectively) compared with patients in the highest 25-hydroxyvitamin D quartile (median, 28.4 ng/mL). Similar results were obtained for patients in the lowest 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D quartile. These effects were independent of coronary artery disease, physical activity level, Charlson Comorbidity Index, variables of mineral metabolism, and New York Heart Association functional class. Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were significantly correlated with variables of inflammation (C-reactive protein and interleukin 6 levels), oxidative burden (serum phospholipid and glutathione levels), and cell adhesion (vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 levels).
Conclusions: Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels are independently associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. A causal relationship has yet to be proved by intervention trials using vitamin D.