D Deficiency May Affect the Heart

Finland; Tennessee—Childhood vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of stroke and heart attack in adulthood, according to new data in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Researchers longitudinally studied data from 2,148 subjects ages 3–18 who participated in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. Participants were again tested between the ages of 30 and 45, when a measure of artery thickness was calculated using an ultrasound on the posterior wall of the carotid artery.

The study showed a correlation between childhood vitamin D deficiency and artery thickness, separate from other risk factors like blood pressure, smoking, diet and obesity. Subjects with the lowest levels of vitamin D as children were at significantly higher levels of risk for cardiovascular conditions (21.9%) compared to those with higher vitamin D levels (12.7%). Although a causal relationship between these two variables is still undetermined, researchers state that there is still a connection between them.

A separate study examined the association between vitamin D deficiency and neurovascular damage; researchers sought to determine if low vitamin D levels were associated with stroke severity and recovery following a stroke. The study included 96 stroke patients.

Those with less than 30 ng/mL 25-hydroxyvitamin D had two times larger areas of dead tissue from blood supply interruption than those with higher levels. Each 10 ng/mL decline in vitamin D corresponded with a 50% reduction in the chance of healthy recovery in the three months following a stroke.

This research was presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2015 held in Nashville, TN.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2015