Posted on Jul 20, 2009, 10 a.m.
By gary clark
Recent studies are shedding light on the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and many adverse health effects, including high blood pressure, heart failure and osteoporosis-related fractures.
New data on nutrition and heart disease presented at a recent symposium and published in the July issue of the American Journal of the Medical Sciences shows that low vitamin D is a common problem affecting many health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart failure and ischemic heart disease. Moreover, according to Suzanne Judd, M.P.H., Ph.D., of University of Alabama at Birmingham and Dr. Vin Tangpricha of Emory University, in patients with heart disease, vitamin D deficiency may increase their risk of high blood pressure or sudden death. "The prospect that macro- and micronutrients may play an important role in the appearance of diseases of the cardiovasculature and their progressive nature is both intriguing and provocative," writes Dr. Karl T. Weber in the article's preface.
In addition, during the symposium, Dr. German Kamalov and his colleagues made a presentation that addressed why patients with heart failureâ€”especially African Americansâ€”are prone to an imbalance of several nutrients. As they explained, with the imbalance, there is an activation of certain hormones, which leads to inflammation and wasting of soft tissues and bone. They discussed approaches to recognizing this nutritional imbalance, and suggest that a "polynutrient supplement" including calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and vitamins D, B12 and B1 could potentially play a role in heart failure management. However, as Dr. Weber notes, despite the new evidence, "The role of nutrition in the causation, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases is largely unexplored. Investigator-initiated, hypothesis-driven research conducted in a mode of discovery by a multidisciplinary team of basic and clinical scientists will undoubtedly open new frontiers and pave the way by identifying simple remedies that could advance the practice of medicine.”
The main risk factors for low vitamin D levels include older age, being female, living in lower latitudes, winter season, darker skin pigmentation, less sunlight exposure, dietary habits and the absence of vitamin D fortification in common foods. Additional factors include increased urbanization, where people typically live and work indoors, as well as cultural practices that encourage people to avoid the sun and wear clothing that covers the skin. Individuals with cystic fibrosis or inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's are also at high risk.
News Release: New evidence that Vitamin D crucial to heart health http://www.sawfnews.com/Health/58800.aspxJuly 10, 2009