SUNDAY May 18, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) — Taking active vitamin D supplements may help cut risk of death for people with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
The two-year study of more than 1,400 patients led by Dr. Bryan Kestenbaum, of the University of Washington in Seattle and colleagues showed the potential reduction in death risk by calcitriol, an oral form of activated vitamin D, was 26 percent.
The researchers also found that patients who took calcitriol were less likely to have end-stage kidney disease, which require dialysis to replace the failed kidney function. Taking calcitriol was associated with a 20 percent reduction in the risk of dying or needing dialysis.
Calcitriol is often used to treat elevated levels of parathyroid hormone in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease. But the death risk reduction by the vitamin D appeared unrelated to its effect on parathyroid hormone levels.
More studies are needed to validate the hypothesis that vitamin D, preferably non-activated form of vitamin D, which is less expensive and less toxic, can improve cardiovascular health and survival of patients with chronic kidney disease, Kestenbaum said in a statement.