Note from Carolyn:
Although my husband and I don't suffer from hight blood pressure, there are so many other benefits of Vitamin D we make sure we take our Wellgenix D3 Genix
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Research has recently found that vitamin D has a protective effect against arterial stiffness and impaired blood vessel relaxation.
Study participants with reduced levels of vitamin D had increased arterial stiffness and vascular function impairment. However, among those whose vitamin D levels were normalized over a six month period, vascular health improved and blood pressure measurements declined.
Science Newsline Reports:
"The results add to evidence that lack of vitamin D can lead to impaired vascular health, contributing to high blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease."
In related news, researchers have also found that high level of vitamin D could be protective against the development of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in adults.
In women younger than 75, those who had 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations lower than 38 nanomoles per liter were more likely to have age-related macular degeneration than women with concentrations greater than 38 nanomoles per liter.
Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Stiffer Arteries and High Blood Pressure
Even if you're considered generally "healthy," if you're deficient in vitamin D, your arteries are likely stiffer than they should be, and your blood pressure may run higher than recommended due to your blood vessels being unable to relax. That's the conclusion researchers from the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute has reached. Their findings were recently presented at the annual American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans.
According to researcher Dr. Al Mheid:
"We found that people with vitamin D deficiency had vascular dysfunction comparable to those with diabetes or hypertension."
That's a truly profound statement!
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are severely deficient in vitamin D, regardless of race or nationality. In the United States, the late winter average vitamin D is only about 15-18 ng/ml, which is considered a very serious deficiency state. Overall, it's estimated that 85 percent of the American public are deficient, and as much as 95 percent of U.S. senior citizens.
Another recent study also confirms the link between vitamin D deficiency and high blood pressure. Published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the study found that the disproportionately higher rates of hypertension among African Americans compared to Caucasians appears to be due to higher incidence of vitamin D deficiency. Life Extension Magazine quotes researcher Dr. Fiscella, professor of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center:
"Our study confirms that vitamin D represents one piece of the complex puzzle of race and blood pressure, and since black-white differences in blood pressure represent thousands of excess deaths due to heart disease and stroke among blacks, we believe that simple interventions such as taking vitamin D supplements might have a positive impact on racial disparities."
The link between vitamin D status and heart health becomes even more apparent when you consider that only ONE out of 1,900 people evaluated meet the American Heart Association (AHA) definition of ideal cardiovascular health!
The AHA's definition of ideal cardiovascular health is the combination of the following seven factors:
- body mass index less than 25
- goal-level physical activity
- healthy diet
- untreated cholesterol below 200
- blood pressure below 120/80
- fasting blood sugar below 100
And out of 1,900 people, only one single person could claim this health status. Is it any wonder heart disease is one of the top killers in the US?
Raise Your Vitamin D Status to Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
Fortunately, it's been repeatedly shown that by increasing your vitamin D levels, you can improve your cardiovascular health and lower your blood pressure, and this latest research confirms this. Forty-two of the participants who raised their vitamin D to normal levels had an average drop in blood pressure of 4.6 millimeters mercury.
Keep in mind that "normal" is not the same as optimal, so increasing your levels to the recommended optimal levels as indicated in the chart below will undoubtedly impart an even more beneficial effect—not just for your cardiovascular health but also your health in general, from improving your immune function to cutting your risk of cancer in half.
But just how does vitamin D work in respect to your vascular health?
Science Newsline explains::
"Throughout the body, a layer of endothelial cells lines the blood vessels, controlling whether the blood vessels constrict or relax and helping to prevent clots that lead to strokes and heart attacks.
"There is already a lot known about how vitamin D could be acting here," Al Mheid says. "It could be strengthening endothelial cells and the muscles surrounding the blood vessels. It could also be reducing the level of angiotensin, a hormone that drives increased blood pressure, or regulating inflammation."
Vitamin D also improves your cardiovascular health through a number of other mechanisms, such as:
- Increasing your body's natural anti-inflammatory cytokines
- Suppressing vascular calcification
- Inhibiting vascular smooth muscle growth
A previous study found women who take vitamin D supplements lower their risk of death from heart disease by one-third, and other researchers have found that people with the lowest average vitamin D levels had a 124 percent greater risk of dying from all causes and a 378 percent greater risk of dying from a heart problem.