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.