Vitamin D May Lower Heart Disease Risk
Studies Suggest That Correcting Vitamin D Deficiency Improves Heart Health
WebMD News Archive
Vitamin D Findings May Change Some Doctors' Practices
Although doctors say better-designed studies showing that vitamin D
supplements help are needed, Muhlestein says the results of this research will
already change the way he treats his patients.
"There is enough information here for me to start treatment based on these
findings," he says.
Treatment options in this case are simple, starting with a blood test to
determine a patient's vitamin D level. If low levels are detected, Muhlestein
recommends that men and women boost their vitamin D levels by taking vitamin
supplements and briefly exposing skin to the sun's vitamin
D-producing ultraviolet light.
The Institute of Medicine suggests that an adequate daily intake of vitamin
D is between 200 and 400 international units (IU) for children and adults up to
age 70. But increasing vitamin D intake by 1,000 to 5,000 IU a day may be
appropriate, depending on a patient's health and genetic risk, Muhlestein
Gina Lundberg, MD, medical director of St. Joseph's Heart Center for Women
in Atlanta, says more and more patients are reading about the link between
vitamin D and heart disease and asking to be tested.
"Sometimes if a 28 or 29-year-old turns out to have slightly low levels, we
just recommend a little more time in the sun. These new results may make us
think about supplementation to bring levels higher," Lundberg tells WebMD.
American Heart Association spokeswoman Alice Lichtenstein, DSc, a
nutritionist at Tufts University, says the research "is interesting," adding to
growing evidence suggesting a link between vitamin D insufficiency and
But people should refrain from taking supplements on their own, Lichtenstein
says. "This should always be done under a doctor's supervision.”