Vitamin D protects against heart failure
Too little vitamin D in your diet can bump up the risk of heart failure considerably. This is suggested in a small epidemiological study that Brazilian cardiologists will publish soon in ESC Heart Failure. According to this study, a serious vitamin D deficiency increases the chance of heart failure by a whopping factor 12.
The Brazilians gathered and analysed the data from 137 over 60s who had been admitted to a heart clinic at the Federal University of Pernambuco between August 2015 and February 2016.
Two out of three of the participants had less than optimal vitamin D levels in their blood. And within the group that had too little vitamin D, about a third was classified insufficient - they had a slight deficiency - and two thirds were classified deficient - they had a serious deficiency.
The Brazilians calculated that vitamin D deficiency increased the chance of heart failure by a factor 12. That effect is bigger than the effect of obesity, which increases the chance of heart failure by a factor 4, and heart arrhythmia, which increases the chance of heart failure by a factor 3.
The table below is simplified. Click on it for the full figure.
In this study an even bigger risk factor than vitamin D status was sex. Men were 15 times more likely to suffer from heart failure than women. That's a lot. In big studies, such as the Framingham Heart Study, elderly men are twice as likely to have heart failure as women. [Heart. 2006 May;92 Suppl 3:iii14-8.]
"Based on the evidence presented in this study, which is supported by the literature, the high percentage of elderly individuals with vitamin D deficiency and its consequences for increased risk of heart failure suggest a need of dosage recommendations for this vitamin, especially in primary healthcare services," wrote the researchers.
"The low cost of its supplementation and the possibility of preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases point to the need for more studies on the supplementation with vitamin D in prospective cohort, so that the conduct of supplementation is implanted with a solid base of evidence."
ESC Heart Fail. 2017 Aug 17. doi: 10.1002/ehf2.12198. [Epub ahead of print].
Too high vitamin D levels increase fatal cardiovascular disease rates 27.08.2015