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Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Disease

        Harvard scientists found that low levels of vitamin D in the blood could increase the risk of a coronary event by 62%.  When coupled with high blood pressure, that risk increases to 113%. The results of the study were published in the January 2008 edition of Circulation - the Journal of the American Heart Association. 



        Researchers measured the levels of the storage form of Vitamin D in the bloodstreams of 1,739 participants without heart disease.  After 5 years, they found that participants with low levels of the storage form of vitamin D were at a 62% greater risk of a coronary event.  Having high blood pressure in addition to low vitamin D levels increased that risk to 113%.   



        Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors: D2 and D3.  Vitamin D2 is derived from your diet (fatty fish, eggs and liver).  Vitamin D3 is produced in the skin upon exposure to the sun’s UVB rays.

           Recent studies have shown that sunshine levels in some northern climates are not sufficient for the body to make any vitamin D.  During winter months, over half the population living in northern climates may not be exposed to strong enough sunshine to produce sufficient levels of vitamin D.          The researchers found that "treatment of vitamin D deficiency, via supplementation or lifestyle measures, could reduce cardiovascular risk." 

Source: Circulation; January 2008 pages 1-9; “Vitamin D Deficiency and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease”;  Thomas J. Wang, Michael J. Pencina, Sarah L. Booth, Paul F. Jacques, Erik Ingelsson, Katherine Lanier, Emelia J. Benjamin, Ralph B. D’Agostino, Myles Wolf, and Ramachandran S. Vasan.
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