A growing number of studies point to vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for heart health, but beyond that there are a number of specific conditions that may be prevented when you should show vitamin some love.
Hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. Research shows that there is a link between vitamin D and hypertension. One large study found that people with higher levels of vitamin D had lower blood pressures and a lower risk of developing hypertension1. While a review of many experiments found that taking a vitamin D supplement lowered systolic blood pressure but not diastolic blood pressure2.
Low vitamin D levels have been linked to damage in the major blood vessels that supply your brain. Stroke patients with low vitamin D levels were found to be more likely than those with normal vitamin D levels to suffer severe strokes or fatal strokes3.
Cardiovascular disease is a class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels. A systematic review of the evidence performed in 2009 for the Institute of Medicine by the Tufts Evidence-based Practice Center in preparation for revisions to the Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin D and calcium concluded significant associations were found between progressively lower 25(OH)D concentrations and increased risk of cardiovascular events4. It was also found that increasing serum 25(OH)D concentration from about 62.5 to 105 nmol/L reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 15% to 35% 5.
Other benefits of Vitamin D that may play a role in improving heart health are that it reduces inflammation and helps to strengthen the heart muscle.
- Ullah, M. et al. Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Hypertension? Current Evidence from Clinical Studies and Potential Mechanisms. International Journal of Endocrinology 2010;579640:1-11.
- Witham, M. et al. Effect of vitamin D on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Hypertension 2009;27:1948-1954.
- Pilz, S. et al. Low Vitamin D Levels Predict Stroke in Patients Referred to Coronary Angiography. Stroke. 2008;39:2611-2613.
- Tufts Evidence-based Practice Center. Vitamin D and Calcium: A Systematic Review of Health Outcomes. Prepared for: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2009.
- Grant WB et al. An estimate of the economic burden and premature dea