The Importance of Vitamin D for Your Blood Vessels
The Importance of Vitamin D for Your Blood Vessels
In a cell study, scientists found that vitamin D restored a healthy balance between two essential compounds needed to maintain endothelial function (control of blood fluidity, platelet aggregation, and vascular tone).
The beneficial compound is a nitric oxide which maintains the youthful elasticity of blood vessels. The toxic one is peroxy-nitrite which damages blood vessels.
This cell study showed that the addition of vitamin D to the cell culturing resulted in an increase in protective nitric oxide and a decrease in destructive peroxy-nitrite.
Restoring this balance represents a novel approach to reducing the overall risk of cardiovascular disasters.
Research also shows a link between deficient or insufficient vitamin D blood levels with increased arterial stiffness and the loss of the youthful flexibility that allows arteries to regulate blood flow and pressure properly.
In addition to causing high blood pressure, stiff and inflexible arteries contribute to heart attacks, strokes, cognitive impairment, and more.
More than forty percent of Americans have insufficient vitamin D blood levels (levels between twenty and thirty ng/mL)
Vitamin supplementation helps reduce arterial stiffness and may improve endothelial function.
VITAMIN D AND CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Research shows a dangerous link between low vitamin D levels and heart failure, heart attacks, and high blood pressure. In addition, researchers state the relation between deficient vitamin D levels and cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, and lipid disorders.
When researchers gave vitamin D to rats with high blood pressure, it helped them keep their aortas loose, relaxed, and able to move blood with minimal resistance, suggesting that there is a connection between vitamin D and how blood vessels respond to changes in flow and pressure.
Vitamin D plays many essential roles in the body, from strengthening bones to boosting the immune system to help you stay healthy. Additionally, vitamin D keeps your heart and blood vessels in good working order. Next, we will show you some benefits vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” offers to keep your heart and blood vessels strong and healthy:
- STROKE PREVENTION
A recent study examined the effects of many foods, vitamins and minerals, and dietary patterns on a person´s stroke risk. The research shows that individuals with low vitamin D levels in their bodies have an increased risk of stroke.
Vitamin D may help by enhancing the blood vessel walls lining to allow blood to flow freely and reduce the harmful effects of inflammation, along with several other outcomes.
- HEALTHIER BLOOD VESSELS
An Ohio University study also investigated the link between high blood pressure and vitamin D by studying the blood vessel walls. The researchers did it excitingly; they used tiny sensors about a thousand times more diminutive than a human hair to observe blood vessel cells while injecting them with a type of vitamin D: Vitamin D3.
This study showed that Vitamin D3 could repair the damage that high blood pressure causes to the heart and blood vessels.
- ARTERIAL STIFFNESS (MAJOR CARDIOVASCULAR RISK FACTOR)
Arterial stiffness is what it sounds like. Numerous factors, such as aging and exposure to oxidative stress, glycation, and inflammation, cause artery walls to lose their elasticity and begin to behave like stiff-walled pipes.
As a result, instead of buffering the rapid rise in pressure that follows a heartbeat, old, stiff arteries transmit that quick, forceful pulse wave to the organs they feed. As a result, significant fluctuations in blood pressure hit delicate organs, tissues, and cells and flow with each heartbeat, detrimental to their normal function.
In addition to contributing to hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes, arterial stiffness plays a role in kidney and liver disorders, type 2 diabetes, cognitive impairment, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer´s and Parkinson’s.
Vitamin D has properties that help reduce oxidative stress, glycation, and inflammation, suggesting that it may play a role in preventing arterial stiffening induced by these events that accelerate aging.
- CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE
In individuals with chronic kidney disease and vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D supplementation caused arterial flow-mediated dilation to nearly double. Flow-mediated dilation is a measure of the ease with which arteries relax.
In addition, a marker of endothelial dysfunction (adhesion molecules that increase the risk of a clot forming or sticking) decreased significantly.
Studies of obese individuals who were vitamin D deficient showed similar findings. For example, in a study of overweight/obese adults with high blood pressure, a monthly oral dose of vitamin D3 for three months produced significant reductions in augmentation index, a measure of arterial stiffness.
A similar study showed significant reductions in pulse wave velocity, another measure of arterial stiffness. The higher the dose of the vitamin, the better the response.
Unfortunately, individuals with type 2 diabetes have a very high risk of heart attack and stroke. In addition, it is essential to know that low vitamin D levels elevate the risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Scientists at the University of California in San Diego followed a group of healthy older individuals, with no signs of diabetes at the start of the study, for twelve years. Subsequently, they kept observing individuals who had developed diabetes to see if they had something in common.
Consequently, the lack of vitamin D in the body could strongly predict who would get diabetes. Those with the poorest blood vitamin D levels were at the most significant risk.
We know diabetes produces an increased arterial stiffness and relates closely to vitamin D insufficiency. Therefore, vitamin D supplementation could be highly beneficial in reducing stiffness.
A study of healthy older adults with vitamin D deficiency showed that a single intramuscular injection of 100,000 IU significantly reduced arterial stiffness.
- METABOLIC SYNDROME
Another research found something similar when investigators examined vitamin D blood levels in women after menopause. Women with deficient or insufficient vitamin D levels were more likely to develop metabolic syndrome.
Individuals have metabolic syndrome when they have three of five “almost” risk factors for heart disease. For example, blood pressure is “almost high,” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is “almost low,” and triglycerides, another harmful fat in the blood, are “almost high.”
If you have a combination of three of the above “almost” risk factors, you have metabolic syndrome and are at much higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
- HIGH-BLOOD PRESSURE OR HYPERTENSION
Experts report the connection between deficient or insufficient vitamin D levels and high blood pressure. And some studies show that taking a vitamin D pill can help lower it, which reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
In conclusion, new research on vitamin D3 indicates that it is a heart-healthy vitamin. However, vitamin D deficiency promotes arterial stiffness, increasing cardiovascular disease risk. Fortunately, vitamin D supplementation may prevent or reduce arterial stiffness.
One of the main ways vitamin D accomplishes this is by restoring a healthy ratio of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, to peroxy-nitrite, a destructive free radical.
Given that more than forty percent of Americans have insufficient vitamin D levels, supplementation represents a powerful opportunity to improve public health and reduce cardiovascular risk.
It is becoming increasingly clear that having enough vitamin D in your body may help your heart. But how can you know if you are getting enough? Only a blood test can tell. If you believe you are at risk or have risk factors, ask your physician if testing is necessary. An accurate test for vitamin D may be helpful for you.
Sun rays are the primary source of vitamin D for people, as your body produces vitamin D in response to the sun rays. But many individuals, particularly African Americans and others with darker skin colors, cannot get enough of the vitamin through sun exposure.
Many foods offer a good supply of vitamin D. These include salmon, sardines, egg yolks, shrimp, fortified milk, and orange juice. A supplement may be helpful, even though that study still needs to be solid.
Talk to your physician or healthcare provider about the best way to increase the vitamin D in your body: together, you can make a plan that allows you to get all the heart-healthy benefits vitamin D has to offer.
Modern Heart and Vascular Institute plans to deliver you with information but does not attempt to substitute the medical advice of your physician or healthcare provider. Consult your physician or healthcare provider for guidance or recommendations on a specific medical condition.
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This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.