Vitamin D reduces cardiovascular risk for people with HIV

Still more evidence of how important it is for people with HIV to monitor their Vitamin D status and supplement to make up for insufficiency of the vitamin. This time it’s a connection between low levels of D and higher cardiovascular risk–risk of heart attack or stroke down the road. Note that people with HIV treated with a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor were more likely to be Vitamin D deficient. And note as well the findings–similar to those of other studies–that African-Americans and people with higher Body Mass Index are more likely to be deficient in D.

See NYBC’s store for very low-cost Vitamin D at the most frequently recommended dosages:

Investigators from the University of California-San Francisco Study of the Consequences of the Protease Inhibitor Era cohort […] sought to establish the prevalence and risk factors for low vitamin D levels in patients with HIV, and the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and sub-clinical atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), measured by cIMT.

Their cross-sectional, or “snap-shot” study involved 139 patients, whose average age was 45. The majority (84%) were male, 54% were white and 32% were black. Three-quarters of patients were taking antiretroviral therapy and 71% of these individuals had a viral load below 1000 copies/ml. The median CD4 cell count was 336 cells/mm3.

Between a fifth and a third of patients had traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as smoking, high blood pressure, or elevated cholesterol.

Over half (52%) of patients had vitamin D deficiency (below 30 ng/ml). Factors associated with insufficient levels of the vitamin included black race (relative risk [RR] = 2.62; 95% CI, 1.80-3.82) and a higher body mass index, or BMI (RR = 1.25 per BMI increase of 5; 95% CI, 1.03-1.51). Both of these risk factors have been observed in other research.

Taking vitamin D supplements reduced the risk of insufficiency by almost a third (RR = 0.70; 95% CI, 0.52-0.95).

During the first six months of HIV therapy, patients treated with a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) were 2.5 times more likely than patients taking a protease inhibitor to have low levels of vitamin D. The investigators call for this finding “to be re-evaluated in other cohorts with longer NNRTI exposure.”



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