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Low vitamin D levels may increase risk of hypertension

April 1, 2013

A new review from the UK suggests that sufficient blood vitamin D concentrations may decrease the risk of developing high blood pressure.

The meta-analysis included eight prospective studies investigating a potential association of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D serum levels and dietary vitamin D intake to the risk of hypertension in 283,537 healthy partici-pants for one to 14 years of age (1). The analysis showed that the participants with the highest 25(OH)D levels had a decreased risk of hypertension of up to 30% compared with people with the lowest levels. For every 10 nanograms/ml increase in vitamin D status, there was a 12% decreased risk of hypertension. No significant effect was found in studies that assessed vitamin D status using intake from dietary sources.

The researchers commented that further studies are needed to determine whether the association of vita-min D to hypertension is causal and also to determine whether vitamin D therapy may be beneficial in the prevention or the treatment of hypertension. Growing evidence points to the existence of a strong link between vitamin D and blood pressure. Several studies have observed an association between elevated levels of vitamin D, as measured by 25(OH)D, and a lower risk of hypertension (2, 3). Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke and even heart failure.

References

  1. Kunutsor S. K. et al. Vitamin D and risk of future hypertension: meta-analysis of 283,537 participants. European Journal of Epidemiology. Published online March 2013.
  2. Scragg R. et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, ethnicity, and blood pressure in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Am J Hypertens. 2007; 20(7): 713–719.
  3. Judd S. E. et al. Optimal vitamin D status attenuates the age-associated increase in systolic blood pressure in white Americans: results from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008; 87(1):136–141.