ISLAMABAD: Vitamin D levels were consistently lower in children with low hemoglobin levels compared with their non-anemic counterparts, researchers found.
The sharpest spike in anemia risk occurred with mild vitamin D deficiency, defined as vitamin D levels below 30 nano grams per millilitre (ng/ml), CBC reported.
Children with levels below 30 ng/ml had nearly twice the anemia risk of those with normal vitamin D levels. Severe vitamin D deficiency is defined as vitamin D levels at or below 20 ng/ml. Both mild and severe deficiency requires treatment with supplements.
The researchers cautioned that their results are not proof of cause and effect, but rather evidence of complex interplay between low vitamin D levels and hemoglobin.
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.
Investigators also looked at anemia and vitamin D by race, and an interesting difference emerged.
Black children had higher rates of anemia compared with white children (14 per cent vs 2 per cent) 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 racial difference in vitamin D levels and anemia suggests that current therapeutic targets for preventing or treating these conditions may warrant a further look, the researchers said.