Updated: May 20
February is American Heart Month. Can Vitamin D lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease?
Every cell in your body has Vitamin D receptors, including your heart cells and the cells of arteries and veins. Your cells wouldn't have Vitamin D receptors if Vitamin D didn't affect the function and/or health of those cells.
There are several ways that Vitamin D helps protect the heart. Here are some:
Vitamin D helps the body regulate and reduce inflammation, which in turn helps protect the heart.
Vitamin D helps the body regulate blood pressure.
Vitamin D helps reduce or prevent atherosclerosis, which is the hardening and plaquing of the arteries.
The heart is a big muscle, and the arteries are full of muscles that cause vasoconstriction and vasodilation. Vitamin D is crucial for healthy muscle function.
Let's look at some data about Vitamin D and high blood pressure provided by the good folks over at grassrootshealth.net. They surveyed 3548 people who were all over the age of 50 years old. They analyzed the incidence of hypertension (high blood pressure) among the participants and categorized them by Vitamin D levels. They found that participants that had a below-optimal Vitamin D level were twice as likely to have hypertension as the participants that had optimal levels of Vitamin D. In this study, an optimal level of Vitamin D was defined as between 40 to 60 ng/ml.
Though this data observes a correlation and doesn't prove that low Vitamin D causes high blood pressure, it makes me want to be in the population of people who have an optimal level of Vitamin D. Is your Vitamin D level between 40 - 60 ng/ml?