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Vitamin D Research: Vitamin D for Heart Health

Most people think of vitamin D as the “bone” vitamin, but new research shows a surprisingly strong connection between vitamin D and cardiovascular health. Let’s look at some of the vitamin D research.

Blood pressure: The active form of vitamin D is a major regulator of renin production in the kidneys. Renin is a hormone that helps maintain blood pressure. High levels of renin can cause high blood pressure. The vitamin D-renin link is a fairly new finding, and it’s relevant to anyone who has high blood pressure or poor kidney function, which often leads to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Adequate amounts of the active form of vitamin D (D3) can be a lifesaver for people with kidney disease.

Heart disease: Two studies have linked low vitamin D levels with a high risk for fatal and nonfatal heart attacks, stroke or heart failure. In one study, people a lack of vitamin D increased their risk for heart disease by 220% compared to patients with the highest levels.

Peripheral vascular disease: Poor circulation in the legs and other parts of the body more than doubles your chances of having a heart attack and stroke. Research has shown that people with vitamin D deficiency have an 80% increased risk of having peripheral vascular disease. That’s an important finding for the people who are most at risk—smokers, diabetics, anyone age 65 or older and people who are sedentary or obese.

The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: I recommend that both children and adults take at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day as a supplement. This is in addition to having adequate sensible sun exposure and taking a multi-vitamin that contains at least 400 IU of vitamin D. You can obtain more information about vitamin D on my web site at VitaminDHealth.org.

References for this article:

1.  Holick, MF.  Vitamin D Deficiency.  N Engl J Med. 2007; 357:266-281.

2.  Wang, T.J., Pencina MJ, Booth SL, Jacques PF, Ingelsson E, Lanier K, Benjamin EJ, D’Agostino RB, Wolf M, Vasan RS.   Vitamin D deficiency and risk of cardiovascular disease.  Circulation. 2008; 117(4):503-511.

3.  Dobnig H, Pilz S, Scharnagl H, Renner W, Seelhorst U, Wellnitz B, Kinkeldei J, Boehm BO, Weihrauch G, Maerz W.  Independent association of low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihyroxyvitamin D levels with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.  Arch Intern Med 2008; 168(12):1340-1349.

4.  Melamed ML, Munter P, Michos ED, Urbarri J, Weber C, Sharma J, Raggi P.  Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and the prevalence of peripheral arterial disease.  Results from NHANES 2001 to 2004.  Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. Published online April 16, 2008; DOI:  10.1161/ATVBAHA.108.165886.

Written exclusively for Stop Aging Now, the authority on anti-aging research, anti-aging nutrition, and anti-aging supplements.

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