Low Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
It’s become increasingly clear in the past few decades that vitamin D is crucial for good health. We used to think of it as the hormone that helps keep bones strong, but we now know there’s far more to vitamin D. Unfortunately, studies have repeatedly shown that a majority of Americans do not have adequate levels of the “sunshine vitamin”.
Numerous factors contribute to low vitamin D levels. Widespread use of sunscreen and time spent indoors both contribute to inadequate sun exposure. Sunlight enables the body to generate vitamin D. Being obese, or elderly, or African-American is also associated with having too-low levels of vitamin D. While some dairy products have been fortified with vitamin D—and multi-vitamins provide some vitamin D—it may be necessary to supplement with additional vitamin D3 to boost your levels into the safe zone, especially in winter.
British investigators published a new study recently that used statistical analysis to parse data gathered from more than 100,000 people. Researchers concluded that low vitamin D is a CAUSE of high blood pressure. That’s notable, because many studies have described an association between things like cardiovascular disease risk and vitamin D levels. But few studies claim to validate that one thing causes another. In this instance, the data appear to confirm that low vitamin D actually causes high blood pressure, which is a known risk factor for heart disease.
Vimaleswaran KS, Berry DJ, Lu C, Tikkanen E, Pilz S, Hiraki LT, et al. Causal relationship between obesity and vitamin D status: bi-directional Mendelian randomization analysis of multiple cohorts. PLoS Med. 2013;10(2):e1001383. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001383. Epub 2013 Feb 5.