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Aug 8, 2014

Vitamin D Might Protect Against Heart Failure

New research suggests that vitamin D supplementation in older people might protect against heart failure, but not heart attack or stroke.

The major role of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.  Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium which forms and maintains strong bones.  It is used alone or together with calcium to improve bone health and decrease fractures.  Vitamin D may also protect against osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cancer, and other diseases.

In a new study, researchers analyzed data from a previous study, in which 5,292 participants were randomly assigned to receive 800 IU of vitamin D3, 1000 mg of calcium, vitamin D plus calcium, or a placebo, daily, to assess their potential effects on heart disease-related events. Data on heart disease-related events was collected for 3 additional years after treatment ended. The researchers found that the people receiving vitamin D alone or vitamin D plus calcium had a 25% reduced risk of heart failure compared to the other groups. However, supplementation did not benefit stroke or heart attack risk.

In an additional data analysis, the researchers conducted clinical trials evaluating the effects of vitamin D on heart disease-related events. When comparing vitamin D use to no use, taking vitamin D was associated with an 18% reduced risk of heart failure. There was no benefit for stroke or heart attack risk.