An adequate intake of vitamin D can reduce the risk of premature death in people with cardiovascular disease, a new study from the University of Bergen (UiB) in Norway shows.
People who have cardiovascular disease, and have a healthy intake of vitamin D, reduce their risk of early death from the disease by 30 per cent.
However, too much or too little vitamin D increased the risk.
The study followed 4,000 patients with cardiovascular diseases for 12 years. Participants were, on average, 62 years old at the start of the study.
The study revealed that it was beneficial to have a blood vitamin D concentration between 42 to 100 nmol/l. Higher or lower values, were associated with a greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
How much vitamin D?
The optimal amount of vitamin D3 you need varies from one person to another. It depends where you live, your age, your skin colour and what kind of diet you have.
Some people may need more vitamin D than typical recommended daily intakes in northern countries (1,000 IU per day) to maintain a sufficient level of vitamin D in the bloodstream. Older adults and people with dark coloured skin are less efficient at making vitamin D in their skin from the sun’s UVB rays.
People who are obese (e.g. have a body mass index of 30 or greater) also may need larger than usual intakes of vitamin D because fat cells hold on to the nutrient and alter its release into the blood stream.
A higher dose vitamin D supplement may also be required for individuals who have a medical condition that reduces the intestinal tract’s ability to absorb dietary fat and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease are associated with fat malabsorption.
Measure vitamin D level
Based on the findings, the researchers advise that people with cardiovascular diseases have their vitamin D blood levels measured, so that the need for supplements assessed.
The best indicator of your vitamin D status is a blood test called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which reflects the amount of vitamin D you produce from sunlight in the skin and how much you consume from foods and supplements. Many laboratories consider a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level above 75 nmol/L as optimal.
If you are concerned you are getting too little – or too much – vitamin D, speak to your doctor about getting tested.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.