Locations:
Search IconSearch

High Blood Pressure? Don’t Take Vitamin D for It

Too much vitamin D can create heart health hazards

man performing a blood pressure check

Sellers of vitamin D claim the nutrient can lower your blood pressure. But don’t believe the hype.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

According to cardiologist Steven Nissen, MD, despite claims from the nutrition industry and non-medical personnel about vitamin D’s ability to lower blood pressure, no quality scientific study can confirm these benefits.

“There are many other claims about the benefits of vitamin D for heart health, but they aren’t substantiated by high quality scientific studies,” Dr. Nissen says.

In fact, a study involving 25,871 participants published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2019 concluded that vitamin D did not result in a lower incidence of cardiovascular events when compared to participants given a placebo.

Too much of a good thing

According to Dr. Nissen, vitamin D does play an integral part in the regulation of blood pressure, but it’s a complicated process. And taking too much vitamin D can lead to excess calcium or hypercalcemia.

“Vitamin D enables the uptake of calcium,” he says. “In theory, too-high levels potentially can result in calcium deposits ending up on blood vessel walls, in heart valves and even in the liver and kidneys. So our advice is not to start vitamin D as a means to lower blood pressure.”

Safe vitamin D levels remain unclear

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin. Your body synthesizes vitamin D from exposure to natural sunlight. Most foods don’t contain significant amounts of the nutrient. So there may be a rationale to take some vitamin D, especially during times of year with less sunlight.

“This may be true, but be aware there’s no clear consensus on exactly how much vitamin D we ultimately need, and more importantly what levels could cause harm,” Dr. Nissen says. “That spells problems for anyone taking large amounts of vitamin D in the hope of boosting their health. That’s like treating yourself with a blindfold on.”

One exception for vitamin D

Vitamin D does help women at risk for osteoporosis. For men, though, there’s no clear evidence of benefit.

“The bottom line is, don’t take vitamin D supplements unless your doctor advises you to do so,” Dr. Nissen says.

Advertisement

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Person talking with doctor on a virtual call about vitamins
May 13, 2024/Nutrition
Yes, You Can Take Too Many Vitamins

If you’re taking supplements, it’s important to understand which vitamins and minerals you can get too much of, like vitamin C and calcium

Person prepping different foods in kitchen
March 20, 2024/Nutrition
What Vitamins You Should Take Is a Personalized Decision

There are several vitamins and mineral supplements that many people can benefit from — but it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before you start one

vitamin b12 shot in foreground with vials in background
March 5, 2024/Nutrition
Vitamin B12 Injections: What They Can and Can’t Do

If you have low B12 or a true deficiency, these shots can work wonders

A wooden spoonful of salt on a granite tabletop with salt scattered around
February 28, 2024/Nutrition
Why Too Much Salt Can Be Bad for You

Excess salt and sodium consumption is a worldwide health concern

beet and carrot juice in a glass surrounded by beets and carrots
February 1, 2024/Heart Health
Can Certain Drinks Lower Your Blood Pressure?

While not magic elixirs, some drinks like beet juice and skim milk may help keep numbers down

Adult hand uses a dropper to deliver a liquid to newborn by mouth
January 18, 2024/Children's Health
Do Infants Need Vitamin D Drops?

A daily dose of vitamin D can help babies build strong bones, as well as boost their brain development

Closeup of hands holding a glass of water and an aspirin
January 16, 2024/Heart Health
Can Aspirin Lower Blood Pressure?

Don’t believe the rumors about aspirin being a magic way to lower BP

Thiamine or vitamin B1 and potatoe, olive and orange slice
January 15, 2024/Nutrition
6 Health Benefits of Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

Getting enough thiamine in your diet can protect your heart, brain and nervous system

Trending Topics

Female and friend jogging outside
How To Increase Your Metabolism for Weight Loss

Focus on your body’s metabolic set point by eating healthy foods, making exercise a part of your routine and reducing stress

stovetop with stainless steel cookware and glassware
5 Ways Forever Chemicals (PFAS) May Affect Your Health

PFAS chemicals may make life easier — but they aren’t always so easy on the human body

jar of rice water and brush, with rice scattered around table
Could Rice Water Be the Secret To Healthier Hair?

While there’s little risk in trying this hair care treatment, there isn’t much science to back up the claims

Ad