A new study from Turkey reports that low blood vitamin D concentrations seem to be linked to a high mean platelet volume, increasing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The observational study measured serum vitamin D concentrations and mean platelet volumes (MPV) of
434 participants without chronic disease who were not taking vitamin D or calcium supplements (1). The stu- dy results showed that low levels of vitamin D were associated with an increased MPV, especially among wo- men. A significantly high MPV was measured in participants with very low vitamin D levels (below 20 ng/mL).
The researchers concluded that vitamin D deficiency may be associated with an increased risk of cardiac disease especially in women with a high MPV, since high MPV is associated with an increased risk of deve- loping coronary artery disease. Platelets are small cell fragments that circulate in the blood and are involved in hemostasis, leading to the formation of blood clots. The average platelet size (volume) in blood increases when the body is producing more platelets, so MPV is a good measurement of overall platelet function. Ab- normally high MPV, which occurs when the body constantly creates new platelets, has been linked to various cardiovascular diseases like coronary artery disease, hypertension and stroke (2). This is because larger platelets have a more difficult time traveling through the blood stream and can more easily get stuck and block your arteries.
In addition, a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk for cardiac disease and some underlying mechanisms have been proposed (3). For example, a vitamin D level below 20 ng/mL has been reported to increase the risk of developing certain cardiac diseases, such as ischemic heart disease, sudden cardiac death, and heart failure (4). The increased release of cytokines (proteins that regulate various inf- lammatory processes), observed in patients with vitamin D deficiency, may enhance oxidative stress that contributes to the release of immature and activated platelets from bone marrow to the circulatory system, thus increasing MPV. Insufficient vitamin D supply is very common worldwide and in Turkey (5).