Vitamin D & Heart Disease
People with more vitamin D in their bloodstream have significantly better heart health and a lower risk of a heart attack. Like heart attacks, higher vitamin levels in your blood stream also correlate with a lower risk of heart failure.
Professionally Reviewed by Charles Li, MD

TLDR3 Key Facts

1. Vitamin D vs. Heart Health

People with more vitamin D in their bloodstream have significantly better heart health and a lower risk of a heart attack.

2. Vitamin D & Heart Failure

People with high Vitamin D levels also have a much lower risk of heart failure and of dying from sudden cardiac death.

3. Vitamin D & Supplements

But, as with so many things in medicine, correlation doesn't mean causation. Vitamin D supplements have not been shown to prevent heart disease.

BackgroundVitamin D Facts

what is it?
where to get it
Vitamin D
what is it?
Key Facts
  • type
    fat soluble
  • source
    diet, skin
  • other names
    calciferol, cholecalciferol
Appearance
Use List

bone growth

calcium

immunity

Vitamin D
where to get it
the sun

your body can create vitamin D with assistance from the sun

diet

some foods such as milk and fish contain vitamin D

supplements

Vitamin D can also be obtained from dietary supplements

Key facts: Vitamin D plays a key role in bone growth, calcium absorption, and your immune system. Unlike some vitamins, your body can produce it with the help of the sun. Sunlight helps catalyze a key reaction in the production of Vitamin D.

Vitamin DHeart Disease Risk

The amount of vitamin D in your blood stream correlates with your risk of coronary heart disease.

Vitamin D & Heart Attacks

Vitamin D deficiency was correlated with a doubling of heart attack risk compared to those who had normal levels of vitamin D. Having a mild deficiency was similar associated with a 1.6x heart attack risk. All results were statistically significant.

From the study

"Vitamin D deficiency may be involved in the development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease in humans...After adjustment for matched variables, men deficient in 25(OH)D (<or 15 ng/mL [to convert to nanomoles per liter, multiply by 2.496]) were at increased risk for MI compared with those considered to be sufficient in 25(OH)D (relative risk [RR], 2.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.53-3.84; P < .001 for trend). "

Source: 25-hydroxyvitamin D and risk of myocardial infarction in men: a prospective study

Study:Vitamin D & Heart Failure Risk

Like heart attacks, higher vitamin levels in your blood stream also correlate with a lower risk of heart failure.

Vitamin D & Heart Failure

Researchers followed 3,299 patients who had come in for coronary angiography. They found that those with low vitamin D had nearly triple the risk of eventually developing heart failure. Those who had low vitamin D also had nearly 5x the risk of sudden cardiac death.

Data Source:

"Low levels of 25(OH)D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D are associated with prevalent myocardial dysfunction, deaths due to heart failure, and SCD. Interventional trials are warranted to elucidate whether vitamin D supplementation is useful for treatment and/or prevention of myocardial diseases."

Source: Association of vitamin D deficiency with heart failure and sudden cardiac death in a large cross-sectional study of patients referred for coronary angiography

Vitamin D Supplements

While vitamin D levels correlate with a lower risk of heart disease, a new study found that giving patients Vitamin D supplements may not necessarily reduce their risk.

Author Quote

"Supplementation with vitamin D did not result in a lower incidence of invasive cancer or cardiovascular events than placebo...The use of vitamin D did not lead to a significant difference in any of the secondary cardiovascular endpoints or in the rate of death from any cause in the overall cohort or in subgroups."

Source: Vitamin D Supplements and Prevention of Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease

More Info

Heart Failure

"Heart failure usually develops slowly. You may go for years without symptoms, and then symptoms may begin to occur and get worse with time. This slow onset and progression of heart failure is caused by your heart’s own efforts to deal with its gradual weakening. Your heart tries to make up for this weakening by enlarging and by forcing itself to pump faster to move more blood through your body."

Heart Attacks

"A heart attack happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart can’t get oxygen. If blood flow isn’t restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die. "

Why Vitamin D Matters

"Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany. It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis."

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