Vitamin D does not stop heart attack or stroke

Vitamin D capsule. Credit: Darren Harmon 

(Medical Xpress)—Taking vitamin D tablets cannot ward off heart attacks or stroke according to a new study from researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Recent studies have shown a link between low vitamin D levels and an increasing number of conditions including MS, diabetes, schizophrenia and asthma.

Previous research found that people with low vitamin D have are more likely to have cardiovascular disease. This new research reveals that taking vitamin D supplements does not reduce the risk of , however there is a chance that it could protect against heart failure in older people.

The research team looked at a trial involving more than 5,000 people aged over 60. While some were given a vitamin D supplement, others were given a placebo for up to five years. Cardiovascular events and mortality were assessed.

They also combined data from 21 other randomized trials involving more than 13,000 people which focused on vitamin D intake and .

Lead researcher Dr John Ford from UEA's Norwich Medical School said: "Vitamin D is both a hormone and a nutrient in that it can be both made in the body when it is exposed to sunlight and obtained from the foods we eat.

"It is known to have multiple and complex functions and there has been a lot of interest in the possibility that a lack of vitamin D might predispose a person to higher rates of and stroke. Several observational studies have provided evidence that cardiovascular patients tend to have lower circulating concentrations of vitamin D but we have shown that this is not a causal relationship. Instead vitamin D levels may be a marker for other risk factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle.

"There was however some evidence which suggested that the risk of dying from cardiac failure was lower among those taking a vitamin D supplement. There needs to be further research into whether a supplement could be beneficial."

The study was led by researchers from the University of East Anglia in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen, the University of Dundee and the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

More information: "Cardiovascular disease and vitamin D supplementation: trial analysis, systematic review, and meta-analysis." John A Ford, Graeme S MacLennan, Alison Avenell, Mark Bolland, Andrew Grey, Miles Witham, for the RECORD. Trial Group Am J Clin Nutr September 2014 doi: ajcn.082602 ajcn.113.082602v1.

Related Stories

Can vitamin B supplements help stave off stroke?

date Sep 18, 2013

New evidence suggests that taking vitamin B supplements may help reduce the risk of stroke. The research appears in the September 18, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurol ...

Recommended for you

1950s drug is future heart treatment

date 11 hours ago

Oxford University researchers have found a promising future treatment for heart disease, going back to a drug first developed in 1950.

Time is muscle in acute heart failure

date 20 hours ago

Urgent diagnosis and treatment in acute heart failure has been emphasised for the first time in joint recommendations published today in European Heart Journal.

Common mutation linked to heart disease

date May 20, 2015

A common mutation in a gene that regulates cholesterol levels may raise the risk of heart disease in carriers, according to a new UConn Health study.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Larry Sunshine
Aug 26, 2014
I don't understand why such smart people are missing the obvious. While vitamin D probably has some benefit in cardiovascular disease the primary pathway in lowering risk is likely to be nitric oxide (NO). Both are produced in the skin from sun exposure (UVB makes vit D, UVA which makes up 95-100% of sunlight depending on latitude, season, time of day and weather, produces NO.). Therefore vitamin D levels are a marker for sufficient risk-lowering sun exposure. Since cardiovascular disease is far and away the largest killer - it kills almost 800,000 Americans each year accounting for 1 of every 3 deaths - it is INSANE to avoid sun because of fear of skin cancer which kills about 13,000 Americans and has a survival rate over 99%. Meanwhile other diseases associated with lack of sunlight/low vitamin levels include breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, MS, diabetes, osteoporosis and now dementia and Alzheimers (to name a few). Get more sun. You can't take it in a pill.
Aug 27, 2014
That clinical trial used only 800 IU of vitamin D
They did, however, find a 25% reduction in heart attacks with that small amount
Aug 31, 2014
I am taking 3000 IU a day.I am fair skinned,and tend to sweat like a pig in the sun.My family doctor said I was low,and should take D3 supplements.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.