Is Your Heart Getting Enough Vitamin D?

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Nutrients and Additives
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Cardiologists often fail to mention one of the most critical nutrients to their heart patients, vitamin D. Studies have shown that adequate levels of this nutrient are critical for maintaining not just bone health, but for protecting against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Now, a new large-scale study shows just how critical vitamin D is for your heart. Researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital and the University of Copenhagen reviewed the data from studies of more than 10,000 Danes. They compared those with the lowest levels of vitamin D (less than 15 ng/mL) to those with the highest levels (more than 50 ng/mL).

What they found is that those with low levels of vitamin D (versus the optimal level) were 64% more likely to have a heart attack. Plus, they had a 40% higher risk of ischemic heart disease, a 57% increased risk of early death, and an 81% higher risk of dying from heart disease.

This adds to the growing number of other studies linking low blood levels of vitamin D with increased arterial stiffness and endothelial dysfunction, more fatal strokes, and even a higher risk of fatal cancer among patients with cardiovascular disease.

So, how much vitamin D do you need to keep your heart in the safe zone? The current dietary guidelines still recommend 400 IU of vitamin D, but the research now available clearly shows that number is way too low. The minimum recommended daily intake should be 2,000 IU if you are healthy. If your vitamin D levels are low, you can take 5,000 to 10,000 IU a day for up to three months time and then recheck your levels.

In general, the only people who need to check with their doctors and possibly limit their intake of vitamin D are those with adenoma of the parathyroid gland, granulomatous diseases, lymphoma, sarcoidosis, and tuberculosis. These conditions may cause the body to produce too much vitamin D, putting you at risk of developing an elevated calcium level. But many of us do not get enough vitamin D.

Now it’s your turn: Do you take vitamin D?

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