Low vitamin D has been found to raise heart disease risks, in a new study showing the dangers vary greatly by race.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Assocation, showed low blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D was associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease among white and Chinese participants, but not among black or Hispanic participants.
Scientists at the University of Washington, Seattle, who conducted the research, said the results suggest the risks and benefits of vitamin D supplementation should be evaluated carefully across race and ethnicity.
"Low circulating concentrations of [vitamin D] have been consistently associated with increased risk of clinical and subclinical coronary heart disease," the researchers said.
"Whether this relationship is causal and modifiable with vitamin D supplementation has not yet been determined in well-powered clinical trials, which are ongoing."
For the study, led by Cassianne Robinson-Cohen of the University of Washington, researchers tracked 6,436 individuals from July 2000 through September 2002. The results showed white participates with low vitamin D levels were 26 percent more likely to have heart problems than those with normal levels, while the risks to Chinese participants with low levels of vitamin D rose to 67 percent.
"However, there was no evidence of association among black participants or Hispanic participants," the researchers concluded.
"Well-powered clinical trials are needed to determine whether vitamin D supplements have causal and clinically relevant effects on the risk of [heard disease] … Our study suggests that the risks and benefits of vitamin D supplementation should be evaluated carefully across race and ethnicity, and that the results of ongoing vitamin D clinical trials should be applied cautiously to individuals who are not white."
The study was funded, in part, by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
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