We know that vitamin D is good for our bones, teeth, and immune system, and now a new study has added heart health to the list.
The study out of University of Leeds School of Medicine in the UK has shown that patients with chronic heart failure can benefit from daily supplementation of vitamin D3. Patients all had chronic heart failure and were all deficient in vitamin D3. Over the course of a year, half the patients were given a vitamin D3 supplement and the other half were given a placebo.
At the end of the study period, the team used an echocardiogram to measure any changes in patients’ heart function, including their ejection fraction – the amount of blood pumped out of the chambers of the heart with each beat.
In a healthy adult, the ejection fraction is between 60% and 70%, but only about 26% of the blood in the heart was being successfully pumped out in the heart failure patients. After taking vitamin D3 for a year, the ejection fraction increased from 26% to 34%, while heart failure patients who took the placebo showed no improvement in cardiac function.
This is a significant breakthrough for those with chronic heart failure, because something as little and inexpensive as vitamin D3 can make an impact on patients’ care.
Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is the form of vitamin D that is produced in the body in response to sunlight exposure. Factors that affect vitamin D status include latitude, season, time of day, air pollution, cloud cover, melanin content of the skin, use of sunblock, age, and the extent of clothing covering the body.
Beyond daily full body, midday sun exposure for 10-15 minutes, the treatment of choice for vitamin D deficiency is supplementing with vitamin D3. A simple blood test, 25-hydroxy vitamin D, can determine your levels and your supplementation needs.
Photo from here, with thanks.