Scientists from the University of South Australia and elsewhere found that vitamin D deficiency can increase heart disease risk.
Vitamin D is both a nutrient we eat and a hormone our bodies make.
It is a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bone.
Also, laboratory studies show that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation.
Many of the body’s organs and tissues have receptors for vitamin D, which suggest important roles beyond bone health, and scientists are actively investigating other possible functions.
Low vitamin D level in the body is linked to a higher risk for heart disease.
Although most existing studies reported the effect of vitamin D on heart risk, the detail of the link has been unclear.
In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the association of vitamin D levels in the blood (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration) with heart disease risk.
They used data from the UK Biobank with 44 519 heart disease cases and 251 269 healthy people. Blood pressure and heart imaging results were included as secondary outcomes.
The team examined the potential reduction in heart disease risk attributable to low vitamin D status.
They found there was an L-shaped association between vitamin D levels in the body and heart risk.
The heart disease risk initially decreased steeply with increasing concentrations and leveled off at around 50 nmol/L.
A similar association was seen for systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers. No evidence of association was seen for heart imaging results.
The team also found increasing the vitamin D level was predicted to lead to a 4.4% reduction in heart disease incidents.
Based on the findings, the team concludes that vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of heart disease. The burden of CVD could be reduced by population-wide prevention of low vitamin D status.
The research was published in The European Heart Journal and conducted by Ang Zhou et al.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about how eating eggs can help reduce heart disease risk, and herbal supplements could harm your heart rhythm.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about how espresso coffee affects your cholesterol level, and results showing Vitamin C linked to a lower risk of heart failure.
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