News

An insufficient vitamin D supply may increase hypertension risk

July 14, 2014

According to a new international review low blood vitamin D levels seem to have a causal role in the development of high blood pressure.

The meta-analysis included the results from 35 cohort studies with a total of over 146,500 adults and ado- lescents from Europe and North America investigating a potential association between vitamin D levels and high blood pressure, especially in participants with genetic variations that have been linked to lower levels of vitamin D (1). The analysis showed that, without taking the genetic factor into account, increased vitamin D concentrations were associated with reduced systolic blood pressure and reduced risk of hypertension. There was no association with diastolic blood pressure. For participants who had a variation of two genes involved in the production of vitamin D, every 10% increase in vitamin D concentration was associated with a lower diastolic blood pressure (–0.29 mm Hg) and systolic blood pressure (–0.37 mm Hg) and an 8.1% decrease in the odds of developing hypertension.

The researchers commented that there seems to be an association between increased vitamin D levels and reduced blood pressure and risk of hypertension in people with a normal genetic ability to produce vitamin D as well as in people with a limited ability due to gene variations. In view of the costs and side effects associa- ted with antihypertensive drugs, the possibility of preventing or reducing hypertension with vitamin D supple- mentation is very attractive. As the study cannot prove that lower levels of vitamin D cause high blood pres- sure, or that taking vitamin D supplements would reduce high blood pres- sure, the findings need to be repli- cated in a large randomized controlled trial.

References

  1. Vimaleswaran K. S. et al. Association of vitamin D status with arterial blood pressure and hypertension risk: a mendelian randomisation study. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. Published online June 2014.