Up to half of all adults in the US are estimated to be deficient in Vitamin D, so the “State of the Art” review published in the December 9, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology could prove quite momentous. This article, which marshals evidence from a number of high-quality studies, highlights significant associations between low levels of vitamin D and some of the main common risk factors for cardiovascular disease (including high blood pressure and diabetes).
In their review, the authors note that low levels of vitamin D activate the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which can lead to hypertension and thickening of the heart and blood vessel walls. Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with altered hormone levels, which in turn increase the likelihood of diabetes, a well-known risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, in a long-term study of heart health, participants who had low levels of vitamin D upon enrollment showed twice the risk for subsequent cardiovascular disease compared with those who initially had higher levels of the vitamin.
This review article certainly bolsters our understanding of the beneficial effects of Vitamin D, which has long been known for its role in bone health. We’re also glad to see that, after much fanfare accorded last month to a new study of statins (a relatively costly and sometimes side effect-prone drug prescribed to reduce cardiovascular risk), the health research community is not neglecting the idea that substantial risk reduction might also be obtained from a “simple, safe and inexpensive” (quoting from the article abstract) dietary supplement like Vitamin D!
Reference: John H. Lee, MD, James H. O’Keefe, MD, David Bell, MD, Donald D. Hensrud, MD, MPH and Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD. Vitamin D Deficiency: An Important, Common, and Easily Treatable Cardiovascular Risk Factor? J Am Coll Cardiol, 2008; 52:1949-1956
See the NYBC entries for information on Vitamin D3 (the effective form):
Note the NYBC also stocks Jarrow’s Bone Up, a supplement that provides dosages of both D3 (1000 IU) and Calcium (1000mg) close to those used in the federally-funded study that showed a substantial reduction in cancer rate among post-menopausal women.