Vitamin D - Hypertension and heart disease

20 November 2015  |  Editor

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There has been a great deal of interest in vitamin D’s relationship to our cardiovascular health. A recent review of 11 randomised, controlled trials showed an ability of vitamin D to help lower blood pressure in some cases. More striking results were shown in a study that followed 548 heart attack patients over 6 years, and showed that those with the lowest vitamin D levels had a 378% (Yes, three hundred and seventy eight!) increased risk of death from a further cardiovascular event.

“This study provides compelling evidence that a high vitamin D status is associated with improved survival in heart failure patients. Until an intervention study has been designed and completed, it seems that we should advise patients with heart failure to maintain appropriate vitamin D levels by taking supplements, by eating oily fish or eggs, or simply by exposure to sunlight,” said Liu, who led the study. 

Further research links vitamin D deficiency with the build up of cholesterol in arteries. 46"Vitamin D inhibits the uptake of cholesterol by cells called macrophages," explains lead researcher Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi, MD. "When people are deficient in vitamin D, the macrophage cells eat more cholesterol, and they can't get rid of it. The macrophages get clogged with cholesterol and become what scientists call foam cells, which are one of the earliest markers of atherosclerosis."

A 2010 review of 28 studies in the UK showed that middle aged and elderly adults have a 33% greater chance of avoiding heart disease if their blood serum vitamin D levels were sufficiently high.47 The same study showed a 55% reduction in type 2 diabetes and a 51% reduction in the risk of metabolic syndrome compared to those with the lowest vitamin D levels.

We have a number of articles about different aspects of Vitamin D and the vital roll it plays. Click of any link below to look at that subject or, below the links, click to bring up a printable PDF document covering all of the subjects by the excellent Nutrigold company, which also incorporates references.