As well as causing musculoskeletal problems, vitamin D deficiency may also increase the risk of heart disease, a new study suggests.
The US authors conclude that their findings “may have potentially broad public-health implications, given the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in developed countries, the contribution of lifestyle and geography to vitamin D status, and the ease, safety and low cost of treating vitamin D deficiency”.
In the study, published in Circulation (online January 7th 2008), 1,739 participants, free of cardiovascular disease at baseline, were followed for a median of 5.4 years and 120 individuals developed a first cardiovascular event. After adjustment for conventional cardiovascular risk factors, individuals with 25-OH D levels below 15 ng/mL had an increased risk for incident cardiovascular events compared with those with 25-OH D levels above 15 ng/mL (HR 1.62).
The higher risk associated with vitamin D deficiency was particularly evident among individuals with hypertension, in whom 25-OH D levels below 15 ng/mL were associated with a two-fold risk of cardiovascular events. But there was no correlation seen in participants without hypertension.