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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Taddiken

How Vitamin D Affects the Heart

Low vitamin D could double your risk of heart disease.

Here’s the latest on the sunshine vitamin! Vitamin D (technically really a hormone) is made in our skin when we’re exposed to sunshine. We need it to absorb calcium for our bones and to keep our immune systems strong.

Now a just-released study out of the University of South Australia is the first to show that low levels of vitamin D put a person at risk for heart disease and high blood pressure.

The study used a genetic approach to compare actual vitamin D levels to cardiovascular risk. The study used information from close to 300,000 people from the UK Biobank. The results are considered to be strong statistical evidence for a link between vitamin D deficiency and heart disease. Here are some details:

➡️ The study defined sufficient vitamin D levels to be anything equal to or greater than 50 nmol/L.

➡️ Individuals with the lowest levels of vitamin D had more than double the risk of heart disease than those with sufficient levels.

➡️ The researchers estimated that improving people’s vitamin D status to 50 nmol/L or greater would prevent 4.4% of heart disease cases (maybe even up to 6%).

It’s not surprising that vitamin D would influence heart health. There are vitamin D receptors on heart tissue, and vitamin D could indirectly influence heart health through its effects on immune and inflammatory pathways.

You can boost your vitamin D levels by spending time in direct sunlight (without sunscreen), eating vitamin D-rich foods (fortified foods, oily fish, and mushrooms), or taking vitamin D supplements.

Have you had your vitamin D levels checked recently?

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