A monthly dose of the vitamin was found to lower the incidence of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks.
Supplementation of vitamin D in older people might lower their risk of cardiovascular events, particularly myocardial infarction, a study has found.
A once-a-month supplement of vitamin D3 containing 60,000 international units (IU) could decrease the rate of major cardiovascular events, especially heart attacks.
This is the biggest clinical trial examining whether vitamin D supplements can change the incidence of major cardiovascular events in older adults.
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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to heart and blood vessel disorders and is a leading cause of death worldwide.
The CVD incidence including coronary heart disease and stroke in aging populations continues to increase with higher prevalence in men than women.
Participants in this study were 60 years and older and received one tablet of 60,000 IU vitamin D3 at the start of each month for five years.
During this period the rate of hospital admissions and death related to major cardiovascular events including heart attacks, strokes, and coronary revascularisation (treatment to improve blood flow to the heart) among participants was recorded.
The total incidence in the vitamin D group was nine percent lower than those taking placebo tablets.
The heart attack rate was reduced by 19 percent and coronary revascularization by 11 percent while the intervention had no effect on stroke-related incidence.
Overall, these findings indicate that vitamin D supplements may lower the rate of major cardiovascular events.
The authors wrote:
“This protective effect could be more marked in those taking statins or other cardiovascular drugs at baseline.
In the meantime, these findings suggest that conclusions that vitamin D supplementation does not alter risk of cardiovascular disease are premature.”
Vitamin D is found in foods such as oily fish including salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines, and fish liver oils but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.
- Higher levels of vitamin D in the brain are linked to better cognitive function with age.
- Vitamin D deficiency may double heart disease risk.
- Depression, tiredness and weak muscles can all be signs of vitamin D deficiency.
- Higher levels of vitamin D are linked to reduced belly fat.
- Chronic headaches could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency.
About the author
The study was published in The BMJ (Thompson et al., 2023).
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