THE HEART & VITAMIN D
Is Your Heart Getting Enough Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is important in the body because it is central to the metabolism of calcium in the promotion of bone growth and in the formation and maintenance of bone strength.
SOME KEY ROLES FOR VITAMIN D IN HEART HEALTH: 1. Changes in lipid profile:
There is some work that suggests that Vitamin D is associated with the modulation of the lipid profile.
2. Development of atherosclerosis:
It appears that low Vitamin D in the diet has a role in potential deposition of calcium within the arteries during the development of atherosclerosis.
3. Side-effects of statins:
There has been some research that has looked at the side-effects of statins, i.e. medicines that are taken to reduce cholesterol and a condition called myalgia. This is the term given to the general aches and pains that are felt in the muscles, which are not dissimilar to flu-like symptoms that some people report as a side-effect of statin therapy. Though there is no conclusive evidence that Vitamin D has an impact on these symptoms, there is certainly some suggestion that Vitamin D might reduce the risk of statin-related aches and pains.
OTHER ROLES OF VITAMIN D: 1. Risk of depression:
There is research to suggest that Vitamin D is associated with depression and one potential implication of this finding is that if you spend less time out in the sun, there is a reasonable chance you are increasing your risk of depression by reducing your exposure to sunlight.
2. Immune modulation:
Additionally, there has been some interesting studies done that suggest Vitamin D has a role in immune modulation. For example, there are links that have been observed between the frequency of the development of multiple sclerosis and the amount of sun exposure. The incidence of multiple sclerosis is greater as you move further and further north or south of the equator.
3. Other factors:
The conditions below have been identified as being associated with Vitamin D deficiency.
• lighter skin pigmentation
• being a woman
• older age.
Our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D, via safe exposure to the sun on a regular basis. Considering the suggested relationships between the heart and Vitamin D and the impacts and effects of Vitamin D deficiency, it’s probably a good reminder that we all ensure we get our dose of Vitamin D, via safe exposure to the sun on a regular basis. Removal of sun block, hats and gloves out in the garden won’t suffice; you need to make a concerted effort to present back, chest, abdomen or legs to the sun to allow exposure for a limited time depending
on the temperature and season, but at the same time, avoid sunburn. Vitamin D is also found in some foods. These include fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, as well as some dairy and grain products. Of course, there are numerous Vitamin D supplements available to purchase from your local pharmacy. Check your Vitamin D. Since adequate Vitamin D has such an important impact on your health, it is certainly worth having your Vitamin D levels checked by your doctor. At the end of the day, Vitamin D is free, so make the most of it!
Dr Warrick Bishop is a cardiologist with special interest in cardiovascular disease prevention incorporating imaging, lipids and lifestyle. He is author of the book ‘Have You Planned Your Heart Attack?’, written for patients and doctors about how to live intentionally to reduce cardiovascular risk and save lives! Dr Bishop can be contacted via his website