Too Little or Too Much Vitamin D Linked to Heart Problems
Though vitamin D has been proven to help strengthen bones and support oral health, too much or too little of the fat-soluble vitamin is associated with an increased risk of heart problems, according to study findings presented during the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in Orlando,Fla. from Nov.12 to 16,2011.
One U.S. study from the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, followed 132,000 patients and assessed their vitamin D levels, finding that too much vitamin D caused fast, irregular heartbeats known as atrial fibrillation than those taking the recommended dosing amounts-600 international units (IUs) for people ages 1 to 70, which results in vitamin blood levels of 41-80 ng/dL. The patient population was grouped into categories distinguishing their vitamin D levels as low (less than 20 ng/dL). low/normal (21to 40 ng/dL), normal (41 to 80 ng/dL), normal/high (81 to 100 ng/dL), and excessive (more than 100 ng/dL).
However, another preliminary study in postmenopausal women ages 45 to 58 showed that low vitamin D levels can increase the risk of heart attacks or stroke. This study analyzed 2,000 Caucasian women over a 16-year span and found that 788 patients with vitamin D deficiency had more heart disease risk factors, including higher triglycerides, fasting glucose, and body mass indexes, than women with normal vitamin D levels.
Though vitamin D is available in some foods-such as salmon and tuna- most people receive their daily requirements from direct sunlight, as ultraviolet rays cause vitamin D synthesis in the body. However, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements, many in northern climates also consume vitamin D supplements to make for sunlight deficiencies during winter months. Known to help calcium absorption, vitamin D also is associated with mineralization of bone and prevention of rickets, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia. Studies have shown that vitamin D helps promote immune and neuromuscular function, while reducing inflammation, as well.
**Article courtesy of the January 2012, Vol.40, No.1 of AGD Impact magazine**