October 10, 2022

Can Vitamin D Help Improve Heart Health?

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Avanthika Nityanand

M.Sc Human Genetics, B.Sc Plant Biology & Plant Biotechnology

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Can Vitamin D Help Improve Heart Health?
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A host of evidence shows a possible connection between a well-functioning cardiovascular system and vitamin D. Cardiovascular disease is considered one of the leading causes of death globally. Delving into possible ways to reduce it may be worthwhile. 

One can obtain vitamin D in three primary ways - sun, natural food sources, and fortified food items. We can all naturally synthesize vitamin D by exposing ourselves to sun rays which are ultraviolet (UV) rays. Consuming naturally rich sources of vitamin D like fish, eggs, dairy products, and supplements helps increase our vitamin D levels. Additionally, a few food items like orange juice, cereals, and grains have been fortified with vitamin D to prevent its deficiency.

A well-known action of vitamin D is its role in bone health. It prohibits nutrients from leaking from the bones, keeping them healthy and intact. 

Research published in the International Journal of Nanomedicine, conducted by Dr. Tadeausz Malinski, and two fellow graduate students, obtained new findings about vitamin D and cardiac health with the help of nanosensors.

The nanosensors were 1000 times smaller than a strand of human hair. They helped study the effect of vitamin D on endothelial cells. Endothelial cells regulate the circulatory system. The sensors showed the internal and external happenings of the cells and the various biochemical reactions the cells underwent.

The study documented the healing effect of vitamin D concerning cardiac health. The study recorded that vitamin D3 helped reduce the damage from diabetes, atherosclerosis, and hypertension and decreased the risk of suffering from a heart attack.

This mechanism was analyzed on white people and African-Americans and showed the same positive effects.

Malinski stated that there were hardly any mechanisms that may reverse the damage of the endothelial cells of the cardiovascular system and vitamin D was one such way.

Findings That Support Vitamin D

Heart patients under the prescription of statins have shown a possible reduction in side effects arising from the medication upon consumption of vitamin D.

Nitric oxide is a substance that causes the blood vessels to dilate, leading to the relaxed flow of blood to and fro from the heart. Vitamin D and its receptors may play a role in regulating nitric oxide production.

A study in Copenhagen concluded a 40% higher risk of coronary heart disease amongst the population with the lowest vitamin D levels.

Regarding a senile case of cardiac disease, the patient showed improvements in muscular and cardiac symptoms, followed by a consumption of 10,000 IU for ten weeks.

In 2,312 patients, every 10ng/mL of vitamin D lower than the standard led to a 25% increase in the hazard of myocardial infarction, a cardiac issue characterized by the death of heart muscle.

The effect of vitamin D supplementation over six months was studied involving a group of patients of old age with heart issues. The study documented a significant improvement in how the heart pumped blood, thus reducing the risk of heart failure.

Despite all such findings, some show no significant changes in cardiac health with vitamin D.

Is Vitamin D Cost-Effective?

If natural methods of procuring vitamin D are inadequate, vitamin D supplements are inexpensive at most dispensaries.

The World Health Organization has mentioned vitamin D in the List of Essential Medicines, a list of medicines mandatory for a properly functioning human body. 

Multi-faceted in nature, vitamin D plays multiple roles in the body. One may reap many benefits if supplemented with vitamin D, cardiac health being a possible one.

Conclusion

Though there has been an association between heart health and vitamin D, there is still a lack of evidence, and research is still ongoing. Get your levels assessed by a professional and get a prescription. Increased supplementation, more than what’s necessary, can calcify and may cause obstructions in the blood vessels. Follow the advice of a qualified physician and take the required precautions before supplementation.

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