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Vitamin D & Heart Disease

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 2 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Vitamin D Diet Egg Yolks Fish Oils

Recent research has proved a link between a person's intake of vitamin D and heart disease. It has been known for a long time that vitamin D is important for skeletal growth and strength, but scientists are now becoming convinced that it is also essential for maintaining a healthy heart.

Why Is Vitamin D Good For The Heart?

It has been documented that this vitamin is crucial in the maintenance of heart cells and also contributes to the overall ability of the heart's main function of pumping blood around the body; this is more poignant if the person is already suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension).

Studies have shown that those with poor cardiac function due to disease are less likely to absorb vitamin D as these receptors are found in the heart muscle. If these cells do not receive the vitamin D, they can increase the amount of smooth muscle cells which are more likely to harden and stiffen causing problems with blood supply and blockages. Experts are now working on theories that a depletion of this vitamin can actually increase the risk of heart disease.

It is estimated that those who have less than the recommended amount of vitamin D in their body, could be up to twice more likely to develop cardiovascular problems than those who have the sufficient level.

Where Is Vitamin D Found?

Vitamin D can be found in a variety of food sources such as egg yolks and certain fish oils, however to receive the amount needed to be healthy, these foods would need to be consumed very regularly. Unfortunately eggs shouldn't be eaten everyday, especially by those whom have high cholesterol, often an issue that can contribute to poor cardiac health.

It is easier to receive a daily dose of vitamin D by ensuring the body is exposed to some amount of sunlight, roughly around a quarter of an hour a week. The whole body does not have to be exposed, the lower arms, hands and face should be sufficient.

It is not necessary to bask in the sun to obtain the required amount, as this can be extremely harmful to the skin.

If you cannot eat eggs or fish oils, if you are a vegetarian for example, or are unable to go out into direct sunlight, it is important to talk to your GP about a supplementary method of ensuring a healthy amount of vitamin D is received.

It has been found that those who wear lots of clothing such as pregnant women or because of cultural issues, those who live in countries with few hours of sunlight and those who are prevented from going outside, often due to bad health are particularly at risk of becoming vitamin D deficient.

Research continues to find links between vitamins minerals and long term health risks. Vitamin D deficiency has been found to have clear links with cardiac problems and people are being advised to ensure they have sufficient amounts of vitamin D in their system, gained from diet, sunlight or supplements in order to protect them from the harmful effects of heart disease.

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