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Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk for coronary artery disease

April 11, 2014

A new US study reports that low blood concentrations of vitamin D seem to be linked to an elevated risk of developing more severe coronary artery disease.

The observational study evaluated blood vitamin D concentrations of 1,484 patients with coronary artery disease, whose extent and severity was measured by quantitative coronary angiography – a procedure that determines the degree of blockage in arteries (1). The study results showed that 70.4% of the patients were deficient in vitamin D (below 20ng/mL). Participants with values lower than 10 mg/dl had a near two-fold increased rate of coronary atherosclerosis as compared with those showing normal levels. Vitamin D defi- ciency was also related to a 20% higher frequency of severe coronary artery disease.

The researchers commented that although evidence of benefits with vitamin D supplementation in cardiovascular health are still lacking, strategies to raise the vitamin D level should probably be advised in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D is thought to act as a regulator on the function of the immune system as well as inflammatory processes that contribute to risk factors for heart disease. Present study results suggest vitamin D deficiency to be the cause rather than the consequence of atherosclerosis, the researchers said. Coronary artery disease occurs when there is a build-up of plaque in the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.

References

  1. Casteel B. More severe heart disease found in patients with vitamin D deficiency. American College of Cardiology. Published online March 2014.