This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Learn more x


Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Earth Day, Vitamin D, Delirium, and Death: All in One Blog!

By Michael McBurney

Yesterday was a day of colossal journalism failure leading to miscommunication about multivitamins and cancer. It has been confirmed by the University of Colorado Cancer Centre that Dr. Byers didn’t present new research findings in Philadelphia on Monday. The entire news cycle linking multivitamin/mineral supplements with cancer risk seems to have been stimulated by the university press release alluding to a commentary published in 2012. For a scientific perspective, see “Journalism Fails when Stories are not Adequately Verified”.

Extreme headlines attract readers. So here goes: Nutrition Shortfalls may be Harmful! Low vitamin D status may contribute to the onset of delirium in hospitalized patients. Researchers retrospectively examined records from 4,508 adult inpatients at two Boston hospitals. The odds of delirium onset during acute care increased with lower vitamin D status pre-admission. The odds ratio (OR) of a delirium episode was lowest in those with a serum 25(OH)D above 75 nmol/L and increased 1.23 times for those between 50-75 nmol/L, 1.54 X when  25-50 nmol/l and 2.15 X when < 25 nmol/L. Preliminary findings and certainly not evidence of a causal relationship.

Still, scientifically-validated relationships between vitamin D status and hospital mortality, and now delirium, this week. Wow, wouldn’t one expect a media frenzy? Maybe, today everybody just wants to focus on a better future.

Happy Earth Day!

Main Citation

Quraishi SA, Litonjua AA, Elias KM, Gibbons FK, Giovannucci E, Camargo Jr CA, Christopher KB. Association between pre-hospital vitamin D status and hospital-acquired new-onset delirium. 2015 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S0007114515001245

Other Citations

Martinez ME, Jacobs ET, Baron JA, Marshall JR, Byers T. Dietary supplements and cancer prevention: Balancing potential benefits against proven harms. 2012 JNCI doi: 10.1093/jnci/djs195

Amrein K, Litonjua AA, Moromizato T, Quraishi SA, Gibbons FK, Pieber TR, Camargo Jr CA, Giovannucci E, Chrisotopher KB. Increases in pre-hospitalization serum 25(OH)D concentrations are associated with improved 30-day mortality after hospital admission: A cohort study. 2015 Clin Nutr doi: S0261561415000953