While the jury is still out on whether extra vitamin D can help prevent heart disease, the largest study of its kind reports that low levels of the “sunshine vitamin” are strongly associated with greater risk of heart disease, heart attack and cardiovascular mortality.
Danish scientists took blood samples from 10,170 adults and followed them for an average of 29 years. Those with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D (below 15 nanomol/liter, 5% of the study population) were compared with those with adequate vitamin D (about half of the sample).
People in the lowest vitamin D group were at 40% greater risk of heart disease, 64% higher risk of heart attack, 57% more likely to die early of any cause, and 81% more likely to die of heart disease.
Researchers also conducted a meta-analysis of 35 other studies, finding those in the lowest one-quarter of vitamin D were at 39% greater heart-disease risk and 46% higher risk of early death than those with the most vitamin D.
Scientists cautioned, however, that the studies couldn’t prove causality, and that vitamin D deficiency could be merely a marker for poor health generally. –Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology