Features February 2010 Issue

Vitamin D May Play a Major Role in Heart Health

Protect yourself by making sure you get enough of this critical vitamin.

Low intake of vitamin D has long been associated with weak bones, aching joints, mood swings, falls and cancer. Research now implicates low vitamin D levels in the development of heart disease, and death from heart diseases and all causes. "Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, low vitamin D is bad," says Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Leslie Cho, MD. Multiple studies have confirmed various detrimental effects of insufficient vitamin D consumption. One study found a 45 percent increased risk of coronary artery disease, 78 percent increased risk of stroke and 77 percent increased risk of death. Another found that vitamin D deficiency prior to menopause tripled the likelihood of developing hypertension in mid-life. Rates of heart disease and osteoporosis in men have been found to be much higher when levels of vitamin D and estrogen were low.

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