High vitamin D levels correlate to lower risk of cardiovascular disease
Vitamin D is perhaps best known for its role in strengthening bone metabolism and prevent fractures. The use of vitamin D supplements to treat and prevent illnesses has increased over the last decade. Studies, as well as individual reports, links vitamin D deficiency to diseases like cancer, heart failure, depression and so on.
To date, there have been few studies exploring the relationship between vitamin D and the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Examples of CVD are heart attack, stroke, heart arrhythmia, venous thrombosis etc. CVD are the leading cause of deaths and disability today and the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency is high in the general population. Finding a significant cause-and-effect relation between low vitamin D status and incident of CVD would be a major benefit to the public health.
A meta-analysis exploring this subject was recently published. The analysis included 34 studies and the number of participants was 180,667. The results showed a significant relation between low-dose vitamin D and CVD events as well as CVD mortality.
Contrary to the uncertainty shown for higher concentrations, most related studies showed that the lower extreme concentration of vitamin D was associated with a higher risk of CVD mortality.
There are other studies that don’t show a relationship between vitamin D and the protective effects against CVD. However, most of them were designed to examine the effect on the skeleton and participants were mostly older. Therefore, there might’ve been risk factors present that could interfere with the results. In this analysis, the studies included were adjusted for recognized risk factors for CVD, like smoking, overweight, diabetes and so on.
In conclusion, the result showed that higher concentration of vitamin D had a protective effect on total cardiovascular events and mortality. The role of vitamin D in preventing overt CVD, as well as defining optimal vitamin D status for a reduction in overall CVD risk, remains to be seen.
Zhang R et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017.