During a recent physical exam my doctor took the time to review with me the results of a recently conducted study as reported in the Journal of Internal Medicine. The study was conducted jointly in the United States and in Europe and involved some 1300 men in the trial group. About one third of the men had experienced previous non-fatal heart attacks, the remainder had never experienced a heart attack or any cardiovascular problems.
During this ten year study researchers were surprised to learn that men who had lower than normal levels of vitamin D experienced heart attacks and/or strokes at a rate which was 2 1/2 times more frequent than men with normal levels of this vitamin. In the Harvard Medical study the results concluded that not only were men with insufficient levels of vitamin D more likely to experience a heart attack, they were much more likely to experience a fatal heart attack.
Doctors have long associated vitamin D with bone health, but were surprised to learn of the significant role this vitamin played in cardiovascular health. Some doctors believe that this results from the vitamin preventing calcification in the arteries which may cause blockage and/or clotting.
Earlier studies at Harvard Medical school showed similar results in reducing cancer deaths. Men with insufficient levels of vitamin D (or an inability to metabolize vitamin D from sunshine) were 2 1/2 times more likely to develop aggressive and deadly prostate cancer.
Earlier studies at the University of California found that the vitamin has also been shown to reduce incidents of colon and breast cancer by 66% and 50% respectively.
Vitamin D is best found in exposure daily to 15-20 minutes of sunlight. In most individuals the body will metabolize sunlight into vitamin D. In some people the body fails to metabolize sunlight and the result is a vitamin D deficiency. Food sources of vitamin D include milk, cheese, butter, fortified cereals and fatty fish.
Researchers and doctors say that people with normal exposure to sunlight and a healthy, balanced diet including vitamin D food sources will not require additional vitamin D supplements. They particularly warn that no one should consume high/excessive levels of vitamin D pills under the belief that more is better as too much vitamin D can cause problems can lead to calcium deposits in soft body tissue such as heart and lungs, decreasing the functioning of these organs. Excessive doses of vitamin D can also cause the formation of kidney stones.
For those who do not get regular exposure to sunlight or fail to maintain a healthy diet doctors recommend a daily supplement of from 1,000 to 2,000 IU’s of Vitamin D daily.
My doctor insists these results are too promising to ignore and believes firmly that additional vitamin D is as valuable as a daily dose of 81mg aspirin to prevent blood clotting in arteries. He has recommended a daily supplement of 1600 IU of vitamin D daily.
I wanted to share this information which I have not seen elsewhere.