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Vitamin D supplements may not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease

Diet and exercise could be a factor

Photo (c) batuhan toker - Getty Images
Achieving the right levels of vitamin D can be tricky for many consumers, and now a new study conducted by researchers from Michigan State University points to one way vitamin D supplements aren’t helping consumers.

The researchers found that taking vitamin D supplements did not reduce the risk of consumers developing cardiovascular disease, despite previous findings that suggested otherwise.

“We thought it would show some benefit,” said researcher Mahmoud Barbarawi. “It didn’t even show a small benefit. This was surprising.”

Risks for heart health

The researchers analyzed over twenty previous clinical trials that included over 83,000 patients to see if vitamin D supplements were effective for reducing patients’ risk of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers hypothesized that vitamin D supplements would reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease because insufficient levels of the vitamin were previously linked to increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and death. However, after conducting their analysis, the researchers found that the supplements didn’t reduce the patients’ risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Neither age nor gender played a role in the outcome, but according to Barbarawi, diet and exercise could affect consumers’ vitamin D levels and their subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease.

While not helpful for heart health, Barbarawi says he does not recommend completely swearing off vitamin D supplements, as they were found to be effective for other ailments, such as those suffering from osteoporosis.

Moderation is key

Vitamin D consistently makes headlines, especially in the summer months, as it can soothe the skin after an intense sunburn. Previous research has shown that having too much or too little of the vitamin can affect just about anything.

But when it comes to supplements, researchers urge consumers to practice moderation, as taking too many can lead to kidney failure.

“Although vitamin D toxicity is rare owing to a large therapeutic range, its widespread availability in various over-the-counter formulations may pose a substantial risk to uninformed patients,” said Dr. Borne Auguste.

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