Does Vitamin D Deficiency Promote Heart Failure?

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A study of 41,504 patients, who had at least one mea- sured 25-OH-D level, found the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (?30 ng/ml) was 63.6%. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with highly significant (p <0.0001) in- crease in the prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and peripheral vascular disease. Also, those without CV risk factors but with severe vitamin D deficiency had an increased likelihood of developing diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. The vitamin D levels were also highly associated with coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke (all p <0.0001), as well as with incident death, heart failure, coronary artery disease/myocardial infarction (all p <0.0001), stroke (p = 0.003). The authors conclude their data has “... confirmed a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the general healthcare population and an association between vitamin D levels and prevalent and incident CV risk factors and outcomes. These observations lend strong support to the hypothesis that vitamin D might play a primary role in CV risk factors and disease.”1 Another study presented last August at a meeting of the Eu- ropean Society of Cardiology followed 548 patients who had been hospitalized for HF and had had their vitamin D levels checked at the time of diagno- sis. After 18 months 165 had died and 142 were hospitalized again. The researchers observed that over the next 18 months those with low levels of 25-OH-D level in their blood (<29.6nmoles/L) were 30% more likely to die or require repeat hospitalization than those with a 25-OH-D level above 43.9nmoles/L.

Bottom Line: HF patients should be checked for low levels of vitamin D in their blood and those with <40nmoles/L should be given an adequate supplemental dose vitamin D3 (perhaps 2000 to 4000 IU) to attain adequate tissue levels.

By James J. Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN.

1. Anderson JL, et al. Am J Cardiol 2010;106:963-8

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