Vitamin D is a natural supply of crucial hormones for our bodies, especially our bones. According to new research from the University of South Australia, your bones and cardiac health suffer when you’re low on this nutrient.
In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers from UniSA’s Australian Centre for Precision Health at SAHMRI found genetic evidence linking vitamin D insufficiency to cardiovascular disease (Zhou et al., 2021).
The new study finds that people with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to have heart disease and high blood pressure. Low amounts doubled the risk of heart disease among individuals.
Globally, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) kill 17.9 million people every year. CVD causes one in four deaths in Australia and costs $5 billion annually, more than any other condition.
55% of UK Biobank participants have low vitamin D levels (50 nmol/L) and 13% have a severe deficiency (25 nmol/L).
23% of Australians, 24% of Americans, and 37% of Canadians have low vitamin D.
UniSA’s Prof Elina Hyppönen thinks understanding vitamin D deficiency’s impact on heart health could lower the global burden of cardiovascular disease.
“Severe deficiency is unusual, but it’s crucial to avoid heart problems when it does occur. Prof. Hyppönen believes persons in residential care with minimal light exposure may be deficient.
Oily fish, eggs, and fortified meals and drinks are good sources of vitamin D. Food is a poor source of vitamin D, so even a healthy diet lacks enough.
We must take a daily supplement if we don’t obtain enough vitamin D from the sun.
Given the global incidence of CVD, understanding the link between low vitamin D and CVD is crucial.
Our data imply that if we elevate vitamin D levels within norms, we can alter CVD rates. In our study population, boosting vitamin D-deficient patients to 50 nmol/L could have avoided 4.4% of CVD cases.
This large-scale Mendelian study applied a new genetic technique to predict CVD risk based on vitamin D levels. The study examined data from 267,980 people to show a relationship between vitamin D insufficiency and CVD.”
“It’s unethical to enroll vitamin D-deficient persons in a randomized controlled study and then withhold medication”, says Professor Hyppönen.
“This tough environment illustrates the value of our genetic method since we can show how improving concentrations reduces risk in those most in need without harming individuals.”
“Those with the lowest amounts are expected to have the largest impacts, but eradicating vitamin D deficiency could lower the global burden of CVDs.”