Monday, July 5, 2010
Lack of Vitamin D Raises Hypertension Risk
(NaturalNews) The trail of vitamin D's health benefits just keeps getting longer and longer. In the past few months alone, numerous studies have been published suggesting vitamin D has protective and beneficial effects against bone disease, heart problems, Parkinson's disease and overall mortality. Recently, another study published in the journal Hypertension has linked low levels of vitamin D in the blood with a higher risk of getting hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Details and Findings of Study
Previous studies had already suggested that a link between low levels of vitamin D in the blood and hypertension existed. Definitive data in the form of prospective studies, however, had been somewhat limited. The said study followed some 1,484 women from the Nurses' Health Study II. The study subjects did not have hypertension at its commencement, and the women were aged from 32 to 52 years, with their average age being about 43 years.
After having accounted for a series of factors which could affect blood pressure, including age, race, body mass index, level of physical activity, family history of the disease, use of oral contraceptives, as well as blood levels of calcium and phosphorous, the study team found that women with lower levels of vitamin D had much higher incidence of hypertension.
Women who ranked in the lowest quartile for blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D, had a 66% higher risk of having high blood pressure, as compared to those in the highest quartile. The median 25(OH)D blood levels were also lower in hypertension sufferers (25.6 ng/mL) as compared with those who did not have the condition (27.3 ng/mL).
All in all, almost two thirds, or 65.7% of the women, were found to be deficient in vitamin D (less than 30.0 ng /mL). That, in itself, is quite a startling statistic. Perhaps nurses spend the majority of their days indoors, away from the health-promoting rays of the sun. And it was found that those deficient in the vitamin were 47% likelier to develop high blood pressure than those who had enough of it.
"Given that 65.7 percent of women were vitamin D deficient, the population risk attributable to vitamin D deficiency is 4.53 new cases of high blood pressure per 1000 young women annually. If this association is causal, then vitamin D deficiency may account for 23.7 percent of all new cases of high blood pressure developing among young women every year," wrote the study team, comprising Dr John P Forman and his colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
As mentioned at the start of this article, knowledge of vitamin D's health benefits just keeps increasing. As far as lowering blood pressure is concerned, it is still unclear if vitamin D supplementation would do the trick, something which the study team has asked future research to look into. In meantime, most of us are well aware of the health benefits of the vitamin D which our bodies create on their own, a process which is only possible if we allow the sun's life-giving rays to touch our naked and unblocked skin.