Tuesday
Feb222011

Vitamin D & Possible Heart Disease Risk Factor

We know Vitamin D is important for bone health but the latest research suggests that Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of heart disease. Studies have found that low levels of Vitamin D are associated with high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and chronic blood vessel inflammation.

An article recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reported a survey of studies on the link between Vitamin D deficiency and heart disease. Researchers concluded that Vitamin D deficiency is much more common than previously thought, affecting up to half of apparently healthy adults and children in the U.S. It is obvious there is a need for practical advise on screening and treatment of Vitamin D deficiency.

The major source of Vitamin D is of course from the sun. However, Vitamin D deficiency is becoming a growing concern due to the fact most people spend the majority of time indoors and even when they are outdoors we are encouraged to use sun block because of the risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen with an SPF of only 15 blocks approximately 99% of Vitamin D synthesis by the skin. A small amount of Vitamin D can also be obtained from foods such as salmon, sardines, cod liver oil, and Vitamin D enriched cereals and milk.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is converted to Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol which is the active form utilized by the body. Not only is Vitamin D important for bone and cardiovascular health, but it also plays a major role in nerve health, strong immune function, insulin metabolism, balanced moods, pain reduction, kidney health, and even cancer. It also protects the brain against toxic chemicals making it vital in maintaining a high quality of health.

One myth about Vitamin D is that it is highly toxic. The RDA is currently 200 – 600 I.U. per day. Most experts agree that these doses are too low and that optimal health requires levels of 1,000 – 2,000 I.U. daily. Vitamin D levels can be measured by a simple blood test. Optimal blood levels are between 60 and 80 ng/dL. Therapeutic dosages are usually 5,000 I.U. daily but this dose may need to be higher to raise individual blood levels. Testing should be done every 2 – 3 months until the desired level is reached.

Choosing a high quality, highly absorbable Vitamin D supplement is vital for optimal health. It is also recommended that testing is done before any supplementation in order to know the proper dosing. If you have any questions or would like to have your Vitamin D levels checked, please contact Dr. Elkin’s office.

Dr. Elkin is a board-certified internist, cardiologist and anti-aging medical specialist.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE / DISCLAIMER: I am offering—always—only general information and my own opinion in these articles. Always contact your physician or a health professional before starting any treatments, exercise programs or using supplements.
©Howard Elkin MD FACC, 2012

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