Low vitamin D levels have long been associated with higher risks of heart attack and stroke, and the evidence continues to mount.
Now researchers find that people are at the highest risk of cardiovascular problems if their vitamin D levels dip below 15 ng/mL.
The findings, presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Fla., were based on a database of more than 230,000 patients who were followed for three years.
Researchers tracked major adverse cardiac events, including death, coronary artery disease, heart attacks, stroke, heart and kidney failure.
In the highest risk group, the chance of cardiovascular events increased by 35 percent compared to the other subjects in the study whose vitamin D levels were above 15 ng/mL.
About one in 10 people are estimated to have low vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” because our bodies synthesize it from the sun. (It is also found in fish, egg yolks, and dairy products.)
But unfortunately, your ability to do this declines as you age. As a result, many of my older patients have vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D toxicity is rare. People who are deficient can be treated with doses of 5,000 IU a day. But in general, I recommend 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily.
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