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Study: Vitamin D Shows More Heart Healthy Benefits

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Tuesday, June 24, 2008 1:30 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Supplements, Vitamin D, Heart Attack



© iStockphoto/ art symbol for sun/ author: Fred_DL

A new study suggests people with a vitamin D deficiency have an increased risk of death compared to those with normal to high levels of the vitamin according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

This study is the latest to suggest the “sunshine vitamin” is vital for overall good health. Researchers have maintained for years that vitamin D plays a significant role in lessening cancer risk and a host of other health ailments including birth defects, heart disease, hypertension and other serious health conditions.

Harald Dobnig, an internist and endocrinologist at the Medical University of Graz, Austria, and his colleagues studied 3,200 people that were approximately 62-years of age and had a planned angiography (heart examination) during 1997 and 2000.

Researchers found over an eight year median follow-up, 737 patients had died, of which 436 of them had cardiovascular disease. When researchers examined the cause of death, many of them had very low levels of vitamin D in their body.

More precisely, there were 307 deaths in patients with low levels of vitamin D versus 103 deaths in those with higher levels of the vitamin present.

Even when researchers considered all factors such as physical activity and age, the study found that death caused from all causes were twice as common in those patients that were in the lowest-level group.

“This is the first association study that shows vitamin D affects mortality regardless of the (primary) cause of death,” according to Dobnig.

Another recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, June 9th issue, found that men with a vitamin D deficiency were 2 1/2 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than those with higher levels of the vitamin.

While researchers are unsure exactly how vitamin D helps to prevent heart disease, it has shown it helps to boost the body’s disease-fighting immune system.

Vitamin D is found in many dietary sources such as eggs, fish and fortified milk. The sun significantly contributes to the daily production of vitamin D. As little as 10 minutes of sun exposure daily can be enough to prevent deficiencies. #

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