Large Study Links Low Vitamin D to Heart Disease
In the largest epidemiological study to date, researchers from the Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark led by Dr Peter Brøndum-Jacobsen provide evidence that low vitamin D levels are associated with higher risk for heart disease and premature death due to a heart attack (myocardial infarction). Their report, published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis Vascular, Biology also suggests that vitamin D deficiency may be a marker for poor health in a general sense. Senior author Dr Børge G Nordestgaard also emphasizes the need for people to get more exposure to sunshine since vitamin D is synthesized in the skin which has been exposed adequately to sunlight.
The investigators examined more than 10,000 adults who participated in the Copenhagen City Heart Study from 1981–1983 and followed them for about 29 years. About one-third of the participants developed ischemic heart disease, less than 20% experienced a heart attack, and about 2/3 had died. After analyzing their data the researchers found that compared to people with optimum vitamin D levels, participants with the lowest vitamin D levels had a 40% greater risk for heart disease, 64% increased likelihood for a heart attack and a 57% higher chance for premature death. Eighty-one percent of those with vitamin D deficiency had a greater likelihood for dying from a heart disease or a heart attack.
Their findings support those of a meta-analysis on 17 previous studies which show that an increase in the risk for heart diseases and early death increases with decreasing levels of vitamin D, thereby making their conclusions strong.
Nainggolan, L. Largest Epidemiologic Study to Date Links Low Vitamin D to CVD Risk. Medscape.