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Low vitamin D linked to heart disease


Chronic heart failure (CHF) has become an increasingly common condition in recent years. A study by Dr

Chronic heart failure (CHF) has become an increasingly common condition in recent years. A study by Dr. Armin Zittermann and PhD candidate Stefanie Schulze Schleithoff of the Bonn Institute of Nutrition in Germany suggests that a lack of vitamin D may play a significant role in CHF. Their study of 54 CHF patients and 34 healthy subjects revealed that people with CHF had up to 50 per cent less vitamin D in their bodies. CHF patients also had up to twice the amount of the hormone ANP. ANP is known as the "dehydration" hormone; when the heart muscle is weakened in CHF, the organs don't receive enough blood or oxygen. With this deprivation, the kidneys cannot eliminate toxins properly. In response, the heart produces ANP to help. ANP levels in the blood are therefore closely associated with heart failure. The study is the first of its kind and very significant, especially for northern and elderly populations. The human body produces its own vitamin D when exposed to UVB radiation (sunshine), so people in winteryclimates often get less vitamin D than necessary. Older people produce less vitamin D than younger people (up to 40 per cent less when exposed to the same amount of UVB rays); they also participate in fewer outdoor activities, making them even more vulnerable to CHF. The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2003, 41;(1): 105-112) and further research is pending. The lesson here: slap on some sunscreen, get outside and stay active. Sun, exercise and fresh air will go a long way in helping prevent heart disease.

Source: BBC news



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Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD