Vitamin D Supplements Can Help Reduce Heart Disease Risk

March 23, 2010


There is an ongoing and endless argument in the medical world about whether nutritional supplements have any real value in the west so it’s good to hear good news for once. It was reported at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session in Atlanta, Georgia this month that treating Vitamin D deficiency can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

Vitamin D is certainly recommended to reduce bone disease and fractures, but this is the first time it has been suggested to treat heart disease. Two new studies undertaken at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Utah last year have claimed that preventing and treating heart disease in some patients could be as simple as supplementing their diet with extra vitamin D. Doctors recommending supplements, what is the world coming to?!

Researchers demonstrated a clear link between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk for coronary artery disease in studies lasting over a year each and involving over 40,000 patients with low vitamin D levels. In the first study they found that 47 percent of the patients who increased their levels of vitamin D between the two visits showed a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. The second study was even more impressive as patients who increased their vitamin D levels to 43 nanograms per milliliter of blood or higher had lower rates of death, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure, high blood pressure, depression, and kidney failure.

While exposure to 20-30 minutes of sunlight can provide up to 10,000 IU, of vitamin D you need to be sure to use sunscreen and avoid the hottest parts of the day in order to avoid sunburn and the harmful UV rays associated with skin cancer. Supplements can help boost your levels all year round and although the current RDA Recommended Daily Allowance) for vitamin D is around 400 IU for adults, 1000 IU for babies up to 2 years and between 500 – 1000 for older children the doctors taking part in the two studies feel that the ‘normal’ levels are too low.

They suggested increasing vitamin D intake by 1000 to 5000 international units (IU) a day, depending on a patient’s health and genetic risk for coronary disease. However an excess of vitamin D can cause nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness and weight loss so always check with your doctor before exceeding the RDA and have a blood test to accurately determine the levels in your blood.


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