Sunshine vitamin affects cardiac outcomes

Vitamin D deficiency could increase the risk for ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction (MI), and early death, researchers suggest.

A population-based study of 10,170 women and men from the Copenhagen City Heart Study cohort revealed that individuals who had a plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 7.5-12 nmol/L (1st to 4th percentile) had a 40% higher risk for ischemic heart disease than those with a level of 47-71 nmol/L (50th to 100th percentile).

Individuals with low plasma vitamin D levels also had a 64% higher risk for heart attack than those with higher vitamin D levels, a 57% higher risk for early death, and an 81% higher risk for fatal ischemic heart disease or nonfatal MI.

"The cheapest and easiest way to get enough vitamin D is to let the sun shine on your skin at regular intervals," advised lead author Børge Nordestgaard (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) in a press statement.

"There is plenty of evidence that sunshine is good, but it is also important to avoid getting sunburned, which increases the risk of skin cancer. [A] diet with a good supply of vitamin D is also good, but it has not been proven that vitamin D as a dietary supplement prevents heart disease and death."

As reported in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, one of the meta-analyses conducted as part of the current study included 18 general population studies with a total of 82,982 participants and 8376 ischemic heart disease events. It revealed that individuals in the lowest quartile for plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels had a 39% increased risk for ischemic heart disease compared with those in the highest quartile.

The second meta-analysis, including 17 general population studies with a total of 77,155 participants and 15,447 deaths, showed that the corresponding risk for early death was increased by 46% among individuals in the lowest versus the highest quartile for plasma vitamin D levels.

"With this type of population study, we are unable to say anything definitive about a possible causal relationship," remarked Nordestgaard. "But we can ascertain that there is a strong statistical correlation between a low level of vitamin D and high risk of heart disease and early death.

"The explanation may be that a low level of vitamin D directly leads to heart disease and death. However, it is also possible that vitamin deficiency is a marker for poor health generally."

Licensed from medwireNews with permission from Springer Healthcare Ltd. ©Springer Healthcare Ltd. All rights reserved. Neither of these parties endorse or recommend any commercial products, services, or equipment.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
Post a new comment
You might also like... ×
Low vitamin D may affect recovery of injured corneas