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Low vitamin D levels may increase the risk of death after a stroke

Published on

20 January 2014

A new study from China has found that the blood vitamin D concentration may help to predict the risk of short-term disability and death in people who have suffered an acute ischemic stroke.

The case control study measured blood vitamin D concentrations and documented cases of disability and death in 220 patients who had suffered an acute ischemic stroke (AIS) (1). The study results showed that patients with lower vitamin D values had a significantly increased risk of death and disability for 90 days after the stroke event. The AIS patients had significantly lower vitamin D levels; 14.2 ng/ml compared to 17.0 ng/ml, which was measured in comparable participants who had not suffered a stroke.

The researchers concluded that blood vitamin D levels seem to be an independent prognostic marker for death and short-term functional handicaps (e.g., inability to move the limbs, talk or see) after AIS. Previous research has linked an insufficient supply of vitamin D with an elevated risk of a variety of cardiovascular events, such as a stroke, and mortality (2). Acute ischemic stroke – a situation in which the blood supply to the brain is cut off because of blockage in the arteries or blood vessels – is the most common type of stroke. In the United States, around 800,000 people suffer from strokes every year and 80% to 90% of those are ischemic.


  1. Tu W. J. et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D predicts the short-term outcomes of Chinese patients with acute ischaemic stroke. Clinical Science. 2014; 126(5):339–346.
  2. Wang L. et al. Circulating 25-hydroxy-vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular disease: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2012; 5(6):819–829.

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