Having low levels of vitamin D may increase a person's risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke, say researchers from Havard Medical School.
In this study, 1,739 people were followed for five years to determine whether vitamin D was related to heart health. Blood samples were analyzed for levels of this high-profile nutrient.
Those with low vitamin D were found to have about 60 percent greater risk of a heart attack, heart failure or stroke compared to those with higher levels.
The risk for heart attack, heart failure or stroke was doubled in people with both low vitamin D levels and high blood pressure.
Past studies also have suggested that higher intake of vitamin D may protect against Type 2 diabetes, a risk factor for heart disease.
Vitamin D is important for bone health because it helps the body absorb calcium. In adults, vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, and it can lead to rickets in children. Health Canada recommends 200-600 IU of vitamin D per day based on age, race and exposure to sunlight.
The body makes vitamin D when skin is exposed to sunlight. Food sources of vitamin D include eggs, fatty fish - salmon, tuna, mackerel, sea bass, and herring - as well as fortified milk, butter and margarine.
These findings were published in Circulation, a journal published by the American Heart Association.
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