Low vitamin D levels are associated with the presence and size of abdominal aortic aneurysms in older men, according to researchers at the Western Australian Centre for Health and Aging (WACHA).
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when the large blood vessel (aorta) that supplies blood to the abdomen becomes abnormally large. Men are five times more likely to have an AAA compared to women.
“Interest in the cause of AAA has been stimulated by the current absence of an effective drug therapy that limits AAA progression,” explains WACHA expert Dr Yuen Yee Elizabeth Wong.
Researchers measured vitamin D concentrations in 4200 men aged 70-88 years. A total of 310 men had AAA. Of the men diagnosed, more than 50% had larger than normal sized aneurysms.
The authors report that participants with low vitamin D levels (<20 ng/ml) were more likely to have an aneurysm compared to those with higher vitamin D levels. The observed association became stronger with participants who had larger sized aneurysms.
“Vitamin D influences a range of molecular pathways of potential relevance to the pathogenesis of AAA,” Dr Wong says.
The researchers call for further research to clarify the vitamin D, AAA association.