Vitamin D supplement fails to lower cholesterol in short term

September 4, 2012

Taking vitamin D supplements to compensate for vitamin D deficiency didn't improve cholesterol—at least in the short term, according to new research in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, an American Heart Association journal.

Researchers studied 151 people with who received either a mega-dose (50,000 internationals units) of or placebo weekly for eight weeks. Participants' cholesterol levels were measured before and after treatment.

Correcting vitamin D deficiencies with high doses of oral vitamin D supplements did not change cholesterol levels, researchers found. This was despite effectively increasing vitamin D to recommended levels. Vitamin D levels nearly tripled in the group that received actual supplements, but were unchanged in the .

"Our study challenges the notion that vitamin D repletion improves " said Manish Ponda, M.D., M.S., study lead author and assistant professor of clinical investigation in Dr. Jan Breslow's laboratory of biochemical genetics and metabolism at The Rockefeller University in New York, N.Y. "These clinical trial results confirm those from a recent data mining study."

The researchers also tested the effect of vitamin D supplementation on more sophisticated biomarker measures of cholesterol, such as particle size and number. "These measures of cholesterol, which are not used in routine clinical practice, also did not change in response to vitamin D therapy," Ponda said.

As expected, replenishing subjects with high-dose supplements of oral vitamin D decreased parathyroid hormone levels and increased —physical functional changes that were linked to participants' increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL, ).

"For example, participants receiving vitamin D who had an increase in calcium levels experienced a 7 percent increase in LDL cholesterol, while those whose calcium levels fell or did not change had a 5 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol," Ponda said.

The study questions the use of vitamin D supplements to improve cholesterol, Ponda said. While the dose of vitamin D in this study was high, it was appropriate for correcting a vitamin D deficiency over an eight week period.

However, longer-term studies on the impact of the changes in LDL cholesterol as a result of high dose vitamin D supplementation are needed to make stronger recommendations. And questions remain about whether increasing vitamin D levels with exposure to sunlight, the predominant natural source, would have a different effect than with high-dose oral supplements.

To address these issues, Ponda and Breslow will begin another clinical trial this fall, comparing the effect of oral vitamin D to ultraviolet light exposure with a longer follow-up period.

Explore further: Vitamin D-fortified yoghurt improves cholesterol levels and heart disease biomarkers for diabetics

Related Stories

Vitamin D-fortified yoghurt improves cholesterol levels and heart disease biomarkers for diabetics

November 24, 2011
People with diabetes are known to have an increased risk of heart disease. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine shows that regular consumption of a vitamin D-fortified yoghurt drink ...

High-dose vitamin D may not be better than low-dose vitamin D in treating MS

October 24, 2011
Low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), but the first randomized, controlled trial using high-dose vitamin D in MS did not find any added benefit over and above ongoing ...

Vitamin D with calcium shown to reduce mortality in elderly

June 15, 2012
A study recently published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM) suggests that vitamin D—when taken with calcium—can reduce the rate of mortality in seniors, therefore ...

Recommended for you

How genes and environment interact to raise risk of congenital heart defects

October 19, 2017
Infants of mothers with diabetes have a three- to five-fold increased risk of congenital heart defects. Such developmental defects are likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, the molecular ...

Mouse studies shed light on how protein controls heart failure

October 18, 2017
A new study on two specially bred strains of mice has illuminated how abnormal addition of the chemical phosphate to a specific heart muscle protein may sabotage the way the protein behaves in a cell, and may damage the way ...

Newborns with trisomy 13 or 18 benefit from heart surgery, study finds

October 18, 2017
Heart surgery significantly decreases in-hospital mortality among infants with either of two genetic disorders that cause severe physical and intellectual disabilities, according to a new study by a researcher at the Stanford ...

Saving hearts after heart attacks: Overexpression of a gene enhances repair of dead muscle

October 17, 2017
University of Alabama at Birmingham biomedical engineers report a significant advance in efforts to repair a damaged heart after a heart attack, using grafted heart-muscle cells to create a repair patch. The key was overexpressing ...

Physically active white men at high risk for plaque buildup in arteries

October 17, 2017
White men who exercise at high levels are 86 percent more likely than people who exercise at low levels to experience a buildup of plaque in the heart arteries by middle age, a new study suggests.

High blood pressure linked to common heart valve disorder

October 17, 2017
For the first time, a strong link has been established between high blood pressure and the most common heart valve disorder in high-income countries, by new research from The George Institute for Global Health at the University ...

0 comments

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.