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Vitamin D Supplementation Lowers Blood Pressure in African-Americans

African-Americans are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure than other ethnic groups, which puts them at higher risk of heart disease, failure, and stroke. They also tend to have lower circulating levels of vitamin D. A recent study suggests that vitamin D supplementation may decrease systolic blood pressure in African-Americans by up to four points.

Systolic blood pressure is the top measurement in a blood pressure reading and indicates the pressure exerted on the heart when it's beating.

The study included 250 participants. Over the course of three months, they underwent one of four daily interventions:

1. 1,000 IU of vitamin D;

2. 2,000 IU of vitamin D;

3. 4,000 IU of vitamin D;

4. a placebo.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted a drop in systolic blood pressure ranging from one to four points in the supplement groups. The four point drop in blood pressure was correlated with the 4,000 units of vitamin D supplementation. Systolic blood pressure actually rose by 1.7 points in the placebo group.

The study was conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital. It was published online ahead of print on March 13, 2013, in Hypertension.

Previous studies have shown vitamin D to be associated with improved kidney health, reductions in the risk of skin cancer, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related eye degeneration.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process 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.

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