Too Little and Too Much Vitamin D

Vitamin D may be associated with like heart disease

Vitamin D.  You don’t want to be without it.  Vitamin D helps the body build bones.  A vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, a once common skeletal disease.  It may even be associated with some other medical conditions — like heart disease. But right now, that’s a big “maybe”.

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In fact, too much vitamin D could even be bad for your heart, according to new research published in the American Journal of Cardiology.  In this study, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine set out of assess the relationship between levels of Vitamin D and C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of inflammation that may be an indicator of cardiovascular disease.

Reporting on the results, the New York Times wrote, “Too much vitamin D may be just as bad as too little … Vitamin D supplements reduce blood levels of C-reactive protein, or CRP, an indicator of inflammation that is linked to cardiovascular disease. But supplements help only up to a point … after blood levels exceeded 21 nanograms per milliliter — the lower end of what is usually considered normal — any additional vitamin D led to an increase in CRP.”

If you read this story, you may have wondered, “So what does this mean?  Should I be taking vitamin D for my heart, or not?”

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To find the answer, TBE consulted Preventive Cardiology expert, David Frid, MD, who said, “The study DOES NOT show that taking vitamin D supplements or changing ones vitamin level has any effect on CRP level or any type of clinical  harm. Patients should continue to discuss with their physician if they should take a vitamin D supplement and how much.”

The new book “Heart 411” by Cleveland Clinic cardiac surgeon A. Marc Gillinov, MD, and cardiologist Steven Nissen, MD, cites a review by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of thousands of studies on the health impact of vitamin D.  The IOM found that vitamin D had a role in bone health, “but not in other health conditions.”  Further, the IOM determined that most  people get adequate vitamin D in their diets, and don’t need to take  supplements.  “The bottom line,” write Dr. Gillinov and Dr. Nissen, is “don’t take vitamin D to try to protect your  heart.”

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