Study says Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Problems
Vitamin D, commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, is naturally produced in the body through sun exposure but also can be consumed through some foods like fish and eggs and through supplementation. A vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons, which include limited consumption of the vitamin and limited exposure to sunlight. For those with a vitamin D deficiency, an increased risk of heart problems, including cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment and even asthma can arise if left to its own devices without a change in diet or proper supplementation.
Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, have discovered yet another risk of a vitamin D deficiency. The study concluded that vitamin D deficiency is linked to more serious health risks such as coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes if vitamin D levels are above 15 nanograms per milliliter.
Co-director of cardiovascular research at the Institute and lead researcher of the study, J. Brent Muhlestein, MD, stated, “Although vitamin D levels above 30 were traditionally considered to be normal, more recently, some researchers have proposed that anything above 15 was a safe level. But the numbers hadn’t been backed up with research until now. Even if any level above 15 is safe, one out of 10 people still have vitamin D levels lower than that. This equates to a very large percentage of our population. The best way to determine one’s vitamin D level is by getting a blood test.”
In this study, due to the Intermountain Healthcare’s vast clinical database, more than 230,000 patients were able to be evaluated. Split into four groups (less than 15ng/ml, 15-29ng/ml, 30-44ng/ml, less than or equal to 45ng/ml) and followed for three years, researchers compiled data on major cardiac events, including death, coronary artery disease, heart attacks, stroke and heart or kidney failure. The risk of cardiovascular events increased by 35% in the greater than 15ng/ml group compared to the other three.
Dr. Muhlestein explains that this study shreds “new light and direction on patients taking vitamin D supplements” as they may benefit from achieving higher blood levels of vitamin D in patients whose levels are below 15ng/ml.
*Before starting a vitamin D regimen, speak to your primary physician or a nutritionist on how it may help with heart problems.