Low levels of vitamin D have previously been linked to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are highly prevalent among children worldwide. This study examined the relationship between low childhood vitamin D levels and adult increased carotid intima-thickness (IMT), which is a marker of structural atherosclerosis. IMT correlates with cardiovascular risk factors, and predicts cardiovascular events.
2,148 subjects from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, aged 3-18 years at baseline were part of the study. Childhood levels of vitamin D were measured from stored serum, while carotid IMT was measured on the posterior wall of the left carotid artery using ultrasound technology at age 30-45 years. It was seen that study subjects with 25-OH vitamin D levels in the lowest quartile in childhood had a significantly higher prevalence of high-risk IMT as adults (21.9% vs. 12.7%).
The study is published in the Endocrine Society's 'Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism'.