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Vitamin D Shown to Lower Heart Attack Risk in Men

Men who consume the recommended amount of vitamin D are less likely to suffer from heart attack or stroke according to researchers from Harvard University. Similar results were not observed in women.

The findings were first published on June 8, 2011 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The conclusions were drawn from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Study, which observed almost 119,000 people—74,272 women and 44,592 men—for 20 years. All of the participants were free of cardiovascular disease at the onset of the study.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that men were 16 percent less likely to suffer from stroke or cardiovascular disease if they consumed at least 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D daily. That is the current recommended dose of vitamin D for adults.

However, the same effect did not seem to be present in women. Researchers theorized that this could be because vitamin D is stored in fat and women have a higher percentage of body fat than men. They believe that an additional possibility could be that women may have less active vitamin D circulating in their blood.

The researchers stress that additional research is needed to form solid conclusions about the link between vitamin D and heart health.

The most common source of vitamin D in the US is milk and you can get 75 percent of your recommended vitamin D by drinking just three glasses of low-fat milk per day. Vitamin D can also be found naturally in milk, fish and eggs. You can also increase your intake by taking a high quality vitamin D supplement.

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