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Information on the latest vitamin D news and research.

Find out more information on deficiency, supplementation, sun exposure, and how vitamin D relates to your health.

Vitamin D: Crucial for healthy arteries?

Healthy arteries are like long balloons that expand and contract with blood pressure variations. They should not be rigid pipes that do not distend. The balloon-like quality of arteries is called distensibility, and it is measured by ultrasound. In addition, ultrasound measures abnormal growth (hypertrophy) of the main pumping chamber of the heart, the left ventricle.

Recently, Turkish researchers, led by Doctor Osman Kuloğlu and 10 colleagues, working under the supervision of Professor Murat Çaylı, all of the Adana Numune Training and Research Hospital in Turkey, measured both aortic distensibility and left ventricular hypertrophy together with 25(OH)D levels in 136 newly diagnosed diabetics. They also measured high sensitivity C reactive Protein (CRP), a measure of inflammation.

Kuloglu O, Gür M, Seker T, Kalkan GY, Kirim S, Sahin DY, Harbalioglu H, Türkoglu C, Acele A, Elbasan Z, Ozaltun B, Cayli M.Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level is associated with aortic distensibility and left ventricle hypertrophy in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus. Diab Vasc Dis Res. 2013 Jun 10.

In this cross sectional study, they grouped vitamin D levels in two categories, a group with levels higher than 20 ng/ml and a group with levels lower than 20 ng/ml. They found that vitamin D levels were independently associated with ventricular hypertrophy (p = 0.001), aortic distensibility (p < 0.001) and high-sensitive C-reactive protein (p = 0.002), with the higher the vitamin D group all fairing better.

When they looked at continuous vitamin D levels and aortic distensibility (rather than comparing those below 20 ng/ml to those above 20 ng/ml), there was a strong linear correlation between vitamin D levels and distensibility. The higher the vitamin D level, the better the distensibility, with an R value of .57.

Here you can see the graph of the data:

graph healthy arts

The authors concluded:

“Our study showed that low vitamin D level is independently associated with aortic distensibility as well as left ventricle hypertrophy and inflammation in newly diagnosed diabetic patients. Low vitamin D level may play a role in pathogenesis of impaired elastic properties of aorta and left ventricle hypertrophy in diabetic patients.”

Diabetic patients suffer from many complications, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Any new means of prevention or treatment to lower the risk would be welcome. Further research should be able to show the extent of benefit in being sufficient in vitamin D. In the meantime, there’s no reason for diabetic patients not to be sufficient in vitamin D.

  About: John Cannell, MD

Dr. John Cannell is founder of the Vitamin D Council. He has written many peer-reviewed papers on vitamin D and speaks frequently across the United States on the subject. Dr. Cannell holds an M.D. and has served the medical field as a general practitioner, emergency physician, and psychiatrist.
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2 Responses to Vitamin D: Crucial for healthy arteries?

  1. Rita and Misty says:

    Dr. Cannell,

    If I may quote from your above article:

    “In the meantime, there’s no reason for diabetic patients not to be sufficient in vitamin D.”

    I’m finding via my discussions with others that it is the term “sufficient” which requires better definition.

    For example, (we know) that the IOM defines vitamin D sufficiency to be 20 ng/ml.

    This is the level that many (many) many doctors now utilize when determining a patient’s vitamin D status.

    People I talk with will tell me: “Oh yes! My doctor did certainly TEST my vitamin D status, and I have a healthy level of 22 ng/ml.”

    (sigh)

    I’m sorry for being (so) repetitive, but in my opinion, to be expeditious change must come from within the medical community.

    Doctors must talk with colleagues. It is a must–a “walk your talk” kinda thing.

    I do my part…over and over and over again. For example: I just spent my lunch hour talking with a young Indian PhD here at my institution of employment. Our institution’s privately operated HMO found her to be insufficient in Vitamin D. She did not remember her level, but knowing where work I may only imagine just how low her level must be. She told me: “No worries, the HMO is treating me to increase my level to sufficiency (guess what # is used here for sufficiency??), and I am taking my D2 faithfully….”

    I’m sorry for being (so) repetitive, but in my opinion, to be expeditious change must come from within the medical community.

    Doctors must talk with colleagues. It is a must–a “walk your talk” kinda thing.

    (sigh)

    :(

  2. Rita and Misty says:

    I’d like to add that the reason I mentioned that my young is from India, is because 80% (I think more like 99%) of Indians are deficient in D.

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-05-05/science/39041892_1_vitamin-d-sunshine-vitamin-ng-ml