The onset of the global coronavirus pandemic has caused many of us to relook our health. There has been an upsurge of interest in fitness and dietary supplements with Vitamin D receiving a lot of attention. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists in two main forms – D-2 and D-3. This “sunshine” vitamin is vital for the development of bones and teeth. It is also important in maintaining a healthy immune system.
Given its utility in the regular functioning of the immune system, it is unsurprising that Vitamin D became the “go to” supplement in our bid to combat Covid-19, alongside a healthy diet, enough sleep, adequate hydration, exercise, and the vaccines.
Immune system aside, studies indicate that there is a correlation between low Vitamin D levels and a higher likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. As a result, some researchers have said that in assessing a person’s cardiovascular risk, that it may be worthwhile to also check their Vitamin D levels.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and yearly, it is estimated that about 17.9 million people die as a result of complications from heart disease. This accounts for approximately 32 per cent of global death rates.
Dr. JoAnn Manson, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said that while there is some promising research that vitamin D may reduce the risk of heart failure, this still requires additional research. In other words, more studies are needed as the evidence to date is that moderate to high vitamin D supplementation does not appear to reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes.
However, what this study establishes is that it is worthwhile to check vitamin D levels for the purpose of assessing cardiovascular risk and, moreover, supplementing vitamin D for those who are most deficient.
Dr. Rigved Tadwalkar, a board-certified cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, noted that the study has clinical implications.
“People should discuss checking their vitamin D level with their physicians, as there is variability from one doctor to another as to whether this is checked as a matter of routine. If the vitamin D level is found to be significantly low, there is now evidence to suggest that increasing this level will decrease cardiovascular disease risk, including the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke.”