Vitamin D Slashes High Blood Pressure, Research Says
Good news! You don’t have to be like the crazy tanning lady to get the benefits of Vitamin D. All you need is some help from sunshine and supplements. Getting enough Vitamin D won’t only give you strong bones and teeth– it’ll improve heart health too. Recent studies show that Vitamin D not only boosts bone strength, but it also lowers high blood pressure.
We’ve known for a while that Vitamin D levels that are too low cause high blood pressure. A study from 1992-2007 showed that those who had low Vitamin D levels were three times more likely to have high blood pressure than those whose levels were high enough. It’s not too far of a jump, then, to think that taking a Vitamin D supplement could lower high blood pressure. A new study noted just that.
Researchers also studied Vitamin D levels in those who got too little sunshine in European countries during winter months. Getting enough sunlight remains crucial for proper Vitamin D levels. This study showed that having subjects with low Vitamin D levels take a Vitamin D supplement in winter months lowered their blood pressure.
Despite its benefits, we most often don’t get enough Vitamin D through food. The average recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D is 600 International Units (IUs), although babies and older adults may need lower and higher doses, respectively. Males gets an average of 246 IUs each day and females get 210 IUs from food sources, which means getting Vitamin D from sunshine or via vitamins necessary for good health. Good Vitamin D levels are important for getting enough calcium for healthy bones and to prevent bone disease. Vitamin D also helps with immune function, to reduce swelling and to keep muscles working well.
Those at high risk of low Vitamin D levels include breast-fed infants, older adults, dark-skinned people, those with limited sun exposure, obese people, recipients of gastric bypass surgery, and those with trouble absorbing fat. European Society of Hypertension Vice-President Anna Dominiczak commented: “These results show a significant reduction in Central Systolic Blood Pressure in patients taking the vitamin D supplement for 20 weeks, when compared to the placebo group.” A certain form of Vitamin D - D3 – remains its most potent form. Factors leading to reduced levels of Vitamin D include spending more time indoors and the widespread use of sunscreen.