The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease may be decreased if people with metabolic syndrome have vitamin D blood concentrations of at least 75 nmol/L, says a new study from Europe.
In the cohort study, blood samples of 1,801 people with the metabolic syndrome were analyzed for vitamin D concentrations, and deaths (all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality) were documented over an average of 7.7 years (1). The study results showed that optimal levels of vitamin D (at least 75 nmol/L) were associated with a 66% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, compared with people who suffer severe vitamin D deficiency. In addition, all-cause mortality was reduced by 75% in people with optimal vitamin concentrations. For specific cardiovascular disease mortality, there was a strong reduction for sudden death (85% reduction) and congestive heart failure (76% reduction), but not for myocardial infarction.
The researchers concluded that they hope these findings will spur randomized controlled trials to confirm the positive effects of vitamin D on mortality and help establish recommendations for supplementation for patients with metabolic syndrome. Commenting on the potential mechanism, the scientists said that vitamin D is known to affect blood sugar regulation, and that low vitamin D levels have been linked to increased insulin resistance. In addition, vitamin D may also protect the walls of blood vessels via anti-inflammatory effects.
Metabolic syndrome is a condition characterized by central obesity as the main risk factor, hypertension, and disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism. The syndrome has been linked to increased risks of both type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Fifteen percent of adult Europeans are estimated to be affected by metabolic syndrome, while the US statistic is estimated to be 32 percent.