Saturday, January 12, 2008

Is Vitamin D really that important?

January 11, 2008

This article, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association concludes that heart disease risk may increase with a lack of Vitamin D.

The benefits of Vitamin D and cancer prevention (bone health too!) have been known for years. In June of last year, I had a blog post regarding this. Actually, the benefits of Vitamin D have been known for a while. Read this excellent post by Dr. Mark Hyman for more details.

There are many others who espouse the benefits of Vitamin D - too many to list here. So let's get to the article.


More than 1,700 offspring of Framingham participants were involved in the study. Subjects had their Vitamin D levels measured at the beginning of the study and were tracked for 5 years. Health event outcomes included the following: heart attack, heart failure, stroke and additional cardiovascular diseases.

Those with a Vitamin D blood level below 15 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter) had twice the risk compared to those with higher blood levels of Vitamin D.

"Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased cardiovascular risk, above and beyond established cardiovascular risk factors," said Thomas J. Wang, M.D., assistant professor
of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. "The higher risk associated with vitamin D deficiency was particularly evident among individuals with high blood pressure."

This is important...

Researchers observed the highest rate of cardiovascular disease events in subset analyses dividing 688 participants according to high blood pressure status. After researchers adjusted for conventional cardiovascular risk factors, participants with hypertension and a vitamin D deficiency had about 2 times the risk of having a cardiovascular disease event in five years.

And this too...

Researchers also found an increase in cardiovascular risk with each level of vitamin D deficiency.

And somewhat disappointing...

"What hasn't been proven yet is that vitamin D deficiency actually causes increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This would require a large randomized trial to show whether correcting the vitamin D deficiency would result in a reduction in cardiovascular risk." Therfore, Wang doesn't recommend physicians check for vitamin D deficiency or that those with a known vitamin D deficiency be treated to prevent heart disease at this time.

This article by Dr. Sears indicates...

Vitamin D has been shown to strengthen lean tissue, is related to insulin sensitivity, pancreatic function and rheumatoid arthritis, and it's beens shown to increase your mood and have a favorable effect on depression.


So I'd say yes, Vitamin D is extremely important and seems pretty clear cut, regardless of the trepidation from Dr. Wang. What do you think?

So how much Vitamin D should you be getting?

In my post (linked above) you can get all you need with as little as 20 minutes of daily sunshine. This is dependent on your complexion. If you have a darker complexion, it might take a little longer. If you have a lighter complexion, you might require less.

You can also get Vitamin D from foods, like saltwater fish, eggs, cheese and beef.

You can also take a quality supplement. But I'd recommend starting with sunshine first.


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That's all for today. Have a great weekend.

Until then, go outside and get some Vitamin D. It looks like a beautiful day (at least it does here in Houston)!


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