Low levels of vitamin D raise anemia risk in kids

ANI| Updated: Oct 22, 2013, 14:32 PM IST

Washington: A new study has revealed that low levels of vitamin D may increase a child's risk of anemia.

Investigators at the Johns Hopkins Children's Centre caution that their results are not proof of cause and effect, but rather evidence of a complex interplay between low vitamin D levels and haemoglobin.

The investigators said several mechanisms could account for the link between vitamin D and anemia, including vitamin D's effects on red blood cell production in the bone marrow, as well as its ability to regulate immune inflammation, a known catalyst of anemia.

To capture the interaction between the two conditions, researchers studied blood samples from more than 10,400 children, tracking levels of vitamin D and hemoglobin.

It was found that vitamin D levels were consistently lower in children with low hemoglobin levels compared with their non-anemic counterparts. The sharpest spike in anemia risk occurred with mild vitamin D deficiency, defined as vitamin D levels below 30 nanograms per milliliter.

Investigators also found that black children had higher rates of anemia compared with white children (14 percent vs. 2 percent) and considerably lower vitamin D levels overall, but their anemia risk didn't rise until their vitamin D levels dropped far lower than those of white children.

The study is published in the Journal of Pediatrics.