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Information on the latest vitamin D news and research.

Find out more information on deficiency, supplementation, sun exposure, and how vitamin D relates to your health.

Is there a link between vitamin D status and chronic kidney disease in children?

Imagine the children with chronic kidney disease (CKD), especially the kids on dialysis. Most children with CKD were born with an anatomical or biochemical abnormality that injures or destroys their kidneys, although some kids develop CKD from widespread inflammation, often from an infection, that injures or destroys their kidneys.

These children usually have high blood pressure, too, especially the children on dialysis, which damages their heart. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among young adults with CKD and that disease begins to develop in their childhood.

Dr Amit Patange and colleagues of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan looked for evidence of cardiac disease in 34 children with CKD, also testing for vitamin D deficiency to see if the two things co-occurred.

Patange AR, Valentini RP, Gothe MP, Du W, Pettersen MD. Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated With Increased Left Ventricular Mass and Diastolic Dysfunction in Children With Chronic Kidney Disease. Pediatr Cardiol. 2012 Sep 2.

They found that vitamin D deficiency was prevalent in children with CKD. The average vitamin D level was 18.8 ng/ml. Of the 34 children with CKD, only six had vitamin D levels above 30 ng/ml. Of the 28 children with vitamin D deficiency, 12 had mild deficiency (15–30 ng/ml), and 16 had severe deficiency (<15 ng/ml).

When the authors subdivided them into two groups using a cutoff value of 15 ng/ml, the heart size and aortic stiffness were significantly worse in the group with levels lower than 15 ng/ml. This group had previously shown that vitamin D levels are the only significant independent predictor of increased aortic stiffness in the children on dialysis.

Patange AR, Valentini RP, Du W, Pettersen MD. Vitamin D deficiency and arterial wall stiffness in children with chronic kidney disease. Pediatr Cardiol. 2012 Jan;33(1):122-8. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

I like their conclusion and have nothing to add to it:

“The cardiovascular changes observed are not easily reversible… Hence, we advocate preventive therapy with vitamin D supplementation early in the course of the disease.”

  About: John Cannell, MD

Dr. John Cannell is founder of the Vitamin D Council. He has written many peer-reviewed papers on vitamin D and speaks frequently across the United States on the subject. Dr. Cannell holds an M.D. and has served the medical field as a general practitioner, emergency physician, and psychiatrist.