Vitamin D Levels Definitively Linked to Hypertension
Previous observational studies have suggested that low vitamin D levels are associated with higher blood pressure and hypertension. However, no studies had been performed that found that low vitamin D levels actually cause hypertension – until now.
A recent large-scale genetic study has come down firmly on the side of causality, stating that low levels of vitamin D do in fact cause hypertension and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The researchers examined data from 35 studies that included over 155,000 participants. In order to determine vitamin D levels, they looked at genetic variations known as single nucleotide polymorphisms.
They found that every 10% increase in vitamin D in the blood was directly associated with an 8.1% decrease in the risk of hypertension. Because the type of analysis they used involved genetic markers, the researchers feel confident concluding that no other factors could have created these results and that the low vitamin D levels caused hypertension.
Researchers from the University College London conducted this study. It was presented at the 2013 conference of the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG).
Previous studies have shown that vitamin D may improve kidney health, reduce the risk of skin cancer, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, combat diabetes, and improve age related eye degeneration.
Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Our body also process vitamin D from the sun (which is where the nickname “sunshine vitamin” comes from) but our bodies have a harder time processing it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.