Vitamin D and Heart Disease Research
What’s the latest on Vitamin D and heart disease research? Is there a link between vitamin D deficiency and coronary artery disease (CAD)? We know vitamin D and calcium protects us from osteoporosis as we age, but Vitamin D and heart disease research suggests its benefits go much deeper.…straight to the heart in fact. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb essential elements, such as calcium and magnesium. It also assists in muscle mobility, nerve conduction, and fighting off illnesses. Recent studies have also shown that it tempers inflammation, smooth muscle cell division, and platelet function. And because of this, recent vitamin D and heart disease research suggests it may be a factor in protecting us from thrombosis, or clotting, in CAD. Think of your arteries as a highway system. Vitamin D may help keep it free from traffic jams and obstructions so the traffic can keep moving. Low vitamin D levels are independently associated with the severity of heart disease. A recent study by the Novara Atherosclerosis Study Group looked at the extent of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) in patients undergoing a coronary angiography. In over 70% of the 1,484 patients, vitamin D deficiency was observed. Patients were divided into 3 groups based on vitamin D levels. In the lower-level CAD group, those with levels at 9.6 or less, vitamin D deficiency was exacerbated by factors such as age, female gender, renal failure, and active smoking. This led the study authors to conclude that “Vitamin D deficiency is significantly associated with the prevalence and extent of CAD, especially for patients with values below 10.” Our bodies naturally make vitamin D through exposure to the sun, but it can also be obtained through fortified dietary sources, such as milk, salmon, and cheese. If you do not get enough vitamin D from the sun or fortified food choices—and most of us don’t—you can take a quality vitamin D supplement. The studies on vitamin D and heart disease research should not be ignored. Make sure you are getting your required amount of vitamin D daily. And if you have exacerbating factors, such as those mentioned above and in the link, be sure to have your values checked regularly and supplement accordingly.