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

Too much vitamin D can create heart health hazards

vitamin d

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

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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 are not substantiated by high quality scientific studies.

Several large government-sponsored studies are examining whether Vitamin D actually improves heart health, but results will not be available for several years.


Too much of a good thing

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. 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.

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Our advice is not to start vitamin D as a means to lower blood pressure.

Safe vitamin D levels 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.

Unfortunately, there’s no clear consensus on exactly how much vitamin D we need, and more importantly, what levels could cause harm.

That spells problems for anyone taking large amounts of vitamin D in the hope of boosting their health. That’s treating yourself with a blindfold on.

One exception

Vitamin D does help women at risk for osteoporosis. For men, though, there’s no clear evidence of benefit. So don’t take vitamin D supplements unless your doctor advises you to do so.

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Steven Nissen, MD

Steven Nissen, MD

Steven Nissen, MD, is Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. In 2007, TIME Magazine named him “one of the 100 most influential people in the world.”
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