Vitamin D and Mortality

Anticancer Res. 2016 Mar;36(3):1379-87.


In this narrative review, we aim to summarize and discuss the current evidence linking vitamin D and mortality. Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations are associated with an increased risk of mortality. This has been shown in different cohort studies including general populations, as well as various patient cohorts. Some single-study results and meta-analyses indicate that the shape of the relationship between 25(OH)D and mortality follows a U- or a reverse J-shaped curve. Interassay and laboratory differences are, however, a limitation of most previous surveys, and standardization of 25(OH)D measurements is needed for future investigations. Apart from observational data, it has been documented in meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials that vitamin D3 supplementation is associated with a moderate, yet statistically significant, reduction in mortality. This latter finding must be interpreted in light of some limitations such as incomplete follow-up data, but such a reduction of mortality with vitamin D3 supplementation as the finding of meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials strongly argues for the benefits and, importantly, also the safety of vitamin D.

Keywords: 25(OH)D; RCT; Vitamin D; epidemiology; mortality; review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / mortality*


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D