High Vitamin D
November 21, 2011 by staff
High Vitamin D, High vitamin D levels linked to heart condition: Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, but could high amounts be harmful to your heart? A study found that people with high levels of this vitamin in their blood are more than twice as likely to develop a heart problem called atrial fibrillation.
Your body needs vitamin D to make strong, healthy bones. You can get this nutrient from foods such as egg yolks, oily fish, and some dairy products. And your skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. You can also take supplements.
Recent studies have suggested that vitamin D may also play a role in preventing some cancers, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease. Although these studies are not conclusive, they have prompted some people to take vitamin D supplements.
However, there has been less research exploring the possible harms of vitamin D. And there’s debate about what constitutes safe – and unsafe – levels.
In the new study, researchers explored a possible connection between high levels of vitamin D in the blood and atrial fibrillation, a potentially serious condition in which the heart beats irregularly, which can cause blood to pool and clot.
Using blood tests, the researchers checked the vitamin D levels of 132,000 men and women (average age 52 years). They then followed them for an average of 20 months.
During this time, 3.8 percent of those with high levels of vitamin D developed atrial fibrillation, compared with only 1.4 percent of those with normal levels. After accounting for factors that might have affected their results, the researchers estimated that people with high vitamin D levels were two and a half times more likely to develop this heart condition.
There was no increase in risk for people with low vitamin D levels, even though they were more likely to have related health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart failure.
The researchers defined low vitamin D as less than 20 nanograms per millilitre of blood (ng/mL) and high vitamin D as more than 100 ng/mL.
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