08 December 2021

Heart Vitamin

Vitamin D deficiency linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease

Maria Azarova, Naked Science


Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, while eliminating the deficiency can reduce their burden across the population, said scientists from the University of South Australia, the South Australian Institute of Health and Medical Research and the Institute of Child Health on Great Ormond Street in London. The results of their work are published in the European Heart Journal (Zhou et al., Non-linear Mendelian randomization analyzes support a role for vitamin D deficiency in cardiovascular disease risk).

Vitamin D is a fat—soluble substance necessary for maintaining blood levels of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, as well as building and maintaining bone health. More precisely, it is a group of substances similar in chemical composition: the most famous are ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol. Among other things, vitamin D regulates other important cellular functions in our body, but it is not found in many products: it can be obtained from fatty fish, cod liver, fish oil, egg yolk of fortified cereals or goat's milk.

The body itself produces the active form of this substance in response to exposure to solar ultraviolet rays. Consequently, the level of vitamin D is determined by many factors, including time of day or year, latitude, skin pigmentation. Depending on which region a person is in or what lifestyle he leads, the production of these organic compounds may decrease or be completely absent during the winter months. 

The authors of the new study conducted a nonlinear MRI analysis based on a British Biobank containing data on 44,519 cases of cardiovascular diseases. The control group consisted of 251,269 cases. Serum concentrations of vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) were measured taking into account 35 confirmed and genome-wide significant variants. In addition to determining the risk, scientists assessed whether it was possible to reduce the prevalence of diseases of the cardiovascular system by correcting vitamin D levels. 

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