Kidney DiseaseVitamin D

Relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and kidney disease in blacks

vitamindLow blood levels of vitamin D may account for much of the increased risk for end stage kidney disease among black individuals, according to this study by researchers in the US.

First, the details.

  • Medicare claims files for 13,328 people were reviewed for measurements of 25(OH)D and end stage kidney disease — a progressive loss of kidney function over a period of months or years.

And, the results.

  • 34% of non-Hispanic black individuals had vitamin D blood levels less than 15 ng/mL compared with 5% of non-Hispanic white individuals — a significant difference.
  • During about 9 years, 65 participants developed end stage kidney disease.
  • After adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical and laboratory factors (including diabetes, high blood pressure, estimated kidney function, and albumin in the urine), participants with vitamin D blood levels less than 15 ng/mL were at 2.6 time greater risk of end stage kidney disease than those with levels at least 15 ng/mL — a significant difference.
  • After adjustment for the effects of potentially confounding factors, non-Hispanic black individuals had a 2.83-fold higher risk for developing ESRD compared with non-Hispanic white individuals.
  • Additional adjustment for 25(OH)D levels reduced the risk by 58%.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Low 25(OH)D levels [are] associate with development of end stage kidney disease even after adjustment for multiple risk factors. Low 25(OH)D levels may account for a substantial proportion of the increased risk for ESRD experienced by black individuals.”

Since the study was conducted in a relatively small number of people, the authors recommended that more research is warranted.

10/30/09 23:01 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.