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In this study, researchers looked at the link between vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D supplementation and cardiovascular health. A total of 24,895 of blood samples from 14,261 participants were tested for vitamin D concentrations. Blood levels of vitamin D were determined by measuring 25-hyrdroxyvitamin D, and patients reported whether or not they were taking vitamin D supplements.
“Vitamin D has important physiologic functions beyond bone and calcium metabolism,” said James L. Vacek, MD, MSc, and his colleagues from the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center and Hospital, Kansas City, Kansas. “Because vitamin D receptors are involved in the expression of nearly 3,000 human genes, a deficiency could potentially affect numerous disease processes.”
Nearly every cell in the body depends on vitamin D to work properly, so it makes sense that a lack of vitamin D may increase the risk of disease and death. It is essential to get your daily D through sunshine, food, and/or supplements. Dietary sources of vitamin D include vitamin D-fortified foods and beverages and oily fish such as salmon or mackerel. As this study suggests, many people in the US are probably deficient in vitamin D, but optimal blood levels and intake of vitamin D are controversial topics. Too little vitamin D is not good for our health and yet, excessive doses of vitamin D can be toxic. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D was increased last year to 600 IU per day for most adults and to 800 IU per day for people over age 70. Talk with a knowledgeable doctor about checking your vitamin D levels and about the risks and benefits of supplementation if your D levels are low.
(Am J Cardiol 2011 doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2011.09.020)