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Dr. Tori Hudson, Portland, Oregon, Blog Healthline Blog

1739 offspring (Caucasian) of the original Framingham Heart Study were eligible for the Framingham Offspring Cohort.  Mean age was 59 years, 55% were women (947) were without prior cardiovascular disease.  25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured and deficiency groups were identified as < 15 ng/mL and < 10 ng/mL. 28% of individuals had levels < 15 ng/mL and 9% had levels < 10 ng/mL. With an average follow-up of 5.4 years, 120 participants developed a first cardiovascular event. Those with a serum vitamin D level < 15 ng/mL had a hazard ratio of 1.62 for cardiovascular events compared with those with a 25(OH)D level > 15 ng/mL. This effect was observed in those with hypertension but not those without.  There was a progressive increase in cardiovascular risk with lower levels of vitamin D with a 1.53 hazard ratio for levels 10 to < 15 ng/mL and 1.80 for levels < 10 ng/mL. 

The results of this study suggest that a moderate to severe vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease.  One would hope that treatment of vitamin D deficiency with vitamin D supplementation or adequate exposure to sunlight could reduce that risk.  While a randomized intervention trial would be needed to assess vitamin D supplementation as a treatment strategy, we do have other positive evidence showing vitamin D supplementation reducing blood pressure, ventricular hypertrophy and inflammatory cytokines.

Want T, Pencina M, Booth S, et al.  Vitamin D deficiency and risk of cardiovascular disease.  Circulation. 2008; 117: 503-511.

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