Vitamin D recently has been proposed to play an important role in a broad range of organ functions, including cardiovascular (CV) health; however, the CV evidence-base is limited.
We prospectively analyzed a large electronic medical records database to determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and the relation of vitamin D levels to prevalent and incident CV risk factors and diseases, including mortality.
The database contained 41,504 patient records with at least one measured vitamin D level.
The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (30 ng/ml or less) was 63.6%, with only minor differences by gender or age.
Vitamin D deficiency was associated with highly significant (p <0.0001) increases in the prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and peripheral vascular disease. [Probability (P) of this finding resulting by chance less than 1 in 10,000.]
Also, those without risk factors but with severe deficiency had an increased likelihood of developing diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia.
The vitamin D levels were also highly associated with:
• Coronary artery disease,
• Myocardial infarction [heart attack],
• Heart failure,
• And stroke (all p <0.0001),
As well as with incident death, heart failure, coronary artery disease/myocardial infarction (all p <0.0001), stroke (p = 0.003), and their composite (p <0.0001).
In conclusion, we have confirmed a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the general healthcare population and an association between vitamin D levels and prevalent and incident CV risk factors and outcomes.
These observations lend strong support to the hypothesis that vitamin D might play a primary role in CV risk factors and disease.
Given the ease of vitamin D measurement and replacement, prospective studies of vitamin D supplementation to prevent and treat CV disease are urgently needed.
Source: American Journal of Cardiology, Oct 1, 2010;106(7):963-8. PMID: 20854958, Anderson JL, May HT, Horne BD, Bair TL, Hall NL, Carlquist JF, Lappé DL, Muhlestein JB; Intermountain Heart Collaborative (IHC) Study Group. Cardiovascular Department, Intermountain Medical Center, Murray, Utah, USA. [Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]