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Vitamin D supplementation may improve cardiovascular health

December 16, 2011

According to a new US study, vitamin D supplementation may be associated with an increased survival rate, specifically in cardiovascular patients with documented deficiency.

In the observational cohort study, blood vitamin D concentrations, vitamin D supplement use and survival rate were analyzed in 10,899 cardiovascular patients (mean age 58 years) for five years and eight months (1). The study results showed that about 70% of the patients were vitamin D deficient (levels below
30 ng/ml). Vitamin D deficiency was associated with several cardiovascular-related diseases, including hypertension, coronary artery disease and diabetes. In addition, vitamin D deficiency was a strong independent predictor of all-cause mortality after adjusting for multiple clinical variables. Vitamin D supplementation improved survival overall, but only to a significant degree in deficient patients. The dose and duration of vitamin D supplementation were not analyzed.

The researchers concluded that vitamin D deficiency may be associated with a significant risk of cardiovas-cular disease and reduced survival. Vitamin D supplementation seems to be significantly associated with better survival, and particularly in patients with deficiency.

A growing body of evidence has identified vitamin D deficiency as a potential widespread risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Recent evidence supports an association of vitamin D deficiency with hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, coronary artery disease, and heart failure (2, 3). Although epidemiologic evidence for an association between vitamin D deficiency and several cardiovascular diseases is strong, studies investigating the effect of vitamin D supplementation on patient survival have had inconsistent results (4, 5).

References

  1. Vacek J. L. et al. Vitamin D deficiency and supplementation and relation to cardiovascular health. Am J Cardiol. Published online December 2011.
  2. Bischoff-Ferrari H. A. et al. Estimation of optimal serum concentrations of 25- hydroxyvitamin D for multiple health outcomes. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006; 84:18 –28.
  3. Lee J. H. et al. Vitamin D deficiency an important, common, and easily treatable cardiovascular risk factor? J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008; 52:1949 –1956.
  4. Stechschulte S. A. et al. Vitamin D: bone and beyond, rationale and recommendations for supplemen-tation. Am J Med. 2009; 122:793– 802.
  5. Autier P. and Gandini S. Vitamin D supplementation and total mortality: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med. 2007; 167:1730 –1737.