Suboptimal vitamin D levels may account for racial differences in albuminuria, according to researchers.

Researchers who analyzed 2001-2006 data from 7,651 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that blacks had a significant 46% increased likelihood of albuminuria compared with whites, according to a report in the American Journal of Hypertension (2011;24:1114-1120). The association was no longer significant, however, after accounting for subjects’ levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D.

The overall prevalence of albuminuria in the sample was 7%: 10% among blacks and 6.6% among whites. The study revealed suboptimal 25(OH)D levels in 25% of blacks and only 2% of whites.

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The researchers, led by Kevin A. Fiscella, MD, MPH, of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, noted that albuminuria is associated with endothelial and vascular dysfunction. Since blacks had a higher rate of endothelial dysfunction and small vessel disease than whites, they stated that it was possible for low vitamin D levels in blacks to contribute to endothelial dysfunction as seen in albuminuria.