Vitamin D supplements could improve cardiovascular health

28 March 2012

Vitamin D supplements can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Kansas, US.

The report, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, revealed that the significant benefits of the supplements were observed with people with vitamin D deficiency, and suggested that the vitamin can also increase survival for older people.

The researchers observed how vitamin D levels and supplementation may affect disease risk and mortality in 10,899 people classified as vitamin D deficient, and with an average age of 58, according to

The study associated deficiency with higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension, coronary artery disease and diabetes, in addition to 164% higher risk of all-cause mortality.

According to the researchers, the findings could impact current guidelines as supplements providing minimum of 1,000 International Units (IU) per day may be required to avoid deficiency, while the Institute of Medicine recently raised the recommended daily allowance (RDA) to only 600 IU.

The report further states that the strategies for population-based supplementation programmes could prove beneficial since vitamin D deficiency is extensive; however the previous studies evaluating vitamin D supplementation have not been beneficial.

Various studies on this vitamin supplementation have used doses of 400 to 800 IU, which might not be sufficient to ascertain optimal serum levels, the study said.

Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors - D3 or cholecalciferol, and D2or ergocalciferol, both transformed in the liver and kidneys into 25- hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), the non-active 'storage' form, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D), the biologically active form.

Though human body manufactures vitamin D on exposure to sunshine, the deficiency in adults can lead to precipitate or exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

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