Vitamin D deficiency is widely prevalent across all ages, races, geographical regions, and socioeconomic strata. In addition to its important role in skeletal development and calcium homeostasis, several recent studies suggest its association with diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, certain types of malignancy, and immunologic dysfunction. Here, we review the current evidence regarding an association between vitamin D deficiency and hypertension in clinical and epidemiological studies. We also look into plausible biological explanations for such an association with the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and insulin resistance playing potential roles. Taken together, it appears that more studies in more homogeneous study populations are needed before a firm conclusion can be reached as to whether vitamin D deficiency causes or aggravates hypertension and whether vitamin D supplementation is safe and exerts cardioprotective effects. The potential problems with bias and confounding factors present in previous epidemiological studies may be overcome or minimized by well designed randomized controlled trials in the future.
Continue Reading » Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Hypertension?
Bone health is an important issue in aging. Calcium and vitamin D currently have the most focus in published research on nutrition and bone health in aging, although evidence from published research is not conclusive. A systematic review was conducted to determine the impact of dietary and supplemental interventions focused on calcium and vitamin D over the past 10 years. Using key words to search, and search limits (aging population, English), 62 papers were found related to diet, nutrition, and bone; and 157 were found related to calcium and bone. Our review found a positive effect on bone health for supplements; food-based interventions; and educational strategies. Although there may be a publishing bias related to non-significant findings not being published, our results suggest the effectiveness of food based and educational interventions with less economic impact to the individual, as well as less risk of physiological side effects occurring.
Continue Reading » Bone Health and Nutrition in Aging: Calcium and Vitamin D
Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency has been observed worldwide at all stages of life. It has been characterized as a public health problem, since low concentrations of this vitamin have been linked to the pathogenesis of several chronic diseases. Several studies have suggested that vitamin D is involved in cardiovascular diseases and have provided evidence that it has a role in reducing cardiovascular disease risk. It may be involved in regulation of gene expression through the presence of vitamin D receptors in various cells, regulation of blood pressure (through renin-angiotensin system), and modulation of cell growth and proliferation including vascular smooth muscle cells and cardiomyocytes. Identifying correct mechanisms and relationships between vitamin D and such diseases could be important in relation to patient care and healthcare policies.
Continue Reading » Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease
It is becoming increasingly clear that vitamin D has a broad range of actions in the human body. Besides its well-known effects on calcium/phosphate homeostasis, vitamin D influences muscle function, cardiovascular homeostasis, nervous function, and the immune response. Vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency has been associated with muscle weakness and a high incidence of various chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 and 2 diabetes. Most importantly, low vitamin D status has been found to be an independent predictor of all-cause mortality. Several recent randomized controlled trials support the assumption that vitamin D can improve muscle strength, glucose homeostasis, and cardiovascular risk markers. In addition, vitamin D may reduce cancer incidence and elevated blood pressure. Since the prevalence of vitamin D
deficiency/insufficiency is high throughout the world, there is a need to improve vitamin D status in the general adult population. However, the currently recommended daily vitamin D intake of 5–15 µg is too low to achieve an adequate vitamin D status in individuals with only modest skin synthesis. Thus, there is a need to recommend a vitamin D intake that is effective for achieving adequate circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations (>75 nmol/L).
Continue Reading » Nonclassical Vitamin D Actions
An inadequate supply of vitamin D and calcium has negative effects on bone health at all ages, inasmuch as it causes rickets in infants, retards acquisition of an adequate bone mass during skeletal development in adolescents, and is finally responsible for accelerated bone loss in adulthood in both women and men, leading to the development of osteoporosis. Importantly, there is also evidence from epidemiological studies, clinical intervention trials as well as from studies with animal models of human diseases that a compromised vitamin D status and inadequate calcium nutrition are predisposing conditions for a great number of other diseases, including various types of cancer, chronic infectious, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders, as well as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases (Table 1 omitted ; for details, [1-3]
Continue Reading » Vitamin D, Calcium Insufficiency, and Health