More research links vitamin D with protection from cardiovascular disease

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Vitamin D was once a nutrient associated with important benefits for our bones but little else. In the last few years this vitamin has racked up an impressive list of potential benefits including protection from cancer, multiple sclerosis and cardiovascular disease. In January I discussed another study here which found that higher levels of vitamin D were associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. And earlier this month I reported on some recent research which looked at the mechanisms that could be behind vitamin D’s apparent ability to protect against these conditions.

Later on this month saw the publication of another study which assessed the relationship between vitamin D levels and risk of cardiovascular disease [1]. The subjects of this study were almost 17,000 American men and women, of whom a little over 1300 had cardiovascular disease. The frequency of vitamin D deficiency (defined as a 25 hydroxy-vitamin D level of less than 20 mg/mL) was greater in those with cardiovascular disease than those without (about 29.3 and 21.4 per cent respectively).

Vitamin D deficiency was associated with a 20 per cent increased risk of cardiovascular disease after accounting for so-called confounding factors (such as age, sex, physical activity, body mass index, smoking status and presence of high blood pressure and/or diabetes). The authors of the study conclude that These results indicate a strong and independent relationship of 25(OH)D deficiency with prevalent CVD in a large sample representative of the US adult population.

This study adds further to the body of evidence which links vitamin D with protection from cardiovascular disease. And it further reminds me of the need to ensure good levels of this nutrient in the body throughout the year. Winter time for many of us can spell danger here, because of reduced sunlight exposure of our skin. Recently I wrote about a research piece which outlined recommendations for those wishing to maintain adequate vitamin D levels during the winter. You can read it here.


1. Kendrick J, et al. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D deficiency is independently associated with cardiovascular disease in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Atherosclerosis 2008 Nov 11 [Epub ahead of print]

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