Vitamin D is essential to more than healthy bones. A new study found an inverse correlation between serum vitamin D levels and several precursors to cardiovascular disease.
Researchers divided 15,000 people into quartiles based on the amount of vitamin D in their blood. Comparing the lowest quartile with the highest, they found 30% more instances of hypertension, twice as much diabetes, more than twice as much obesity, and 47% more instances of elevated triglyceride levels.
Guidelines recommend only 200 IU of vitamin D a day for those older than 50 years, 400 IU for those 51-70 years old, and 600 IU for those older than 70 years. These vitamin D amounts need to be updated, the researchers say, noting that they were set a number of years ago to prevent rickets (Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:1159-1165).
Lead researcher Keith Norris, MD, a professor at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, believes 1,500-2,000 IUs a day “is more appropriate.” He advocates supplements because vitamin D is not abundant in food. Fish oil and fortified milk or cereals are the primary dietary sources.