Wow!  More out of the vitamin-D-has-greater-importance-than-we-ever-thought camp: Low vitamin D levels in the blood lead to unhealthy blood vessels.  You heard right, new research shows a link between vitamin D concentrations and cardiovascular health.

A study conducted by researchers from the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute showed that participants with the lowest D levels had an increased blood pressure, and thus increased risk of heart disease and stroke.  Even more amazing is that when the participants increased their blood levels of vitamin D, their blood pressure went down.  Amazing

Here’s how they found out: The 554 participants in the study were Emory or Georgia Tech employees with an average age of 47 and in general good health.  Blood levels of vitamin D were measured.  The average concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (a stable form of the vitamin reflecting diet as well as that produced in the skin) in participants’ blood was 31.8 nanograms per milliliter.  In this group, 14% had 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels considered deficient (less than 20 nanograms per milliliter), and 33% had levels considered insufficient (less than 30 nanograms per milliliter).

Researchers monitored the blood vessels’ ability to relax by using a blood pressure cuff.  To allow blood to flow back into the arm, blood vessels must relax and enlarge–a change measured by ultrasound.  The researchers also examined the resistance to blood flow imposed by the arteries.

After controlling for factors like age, weight and cholesterol, people with lower vitamin D levels still had stiffer arteries and impaired vascular function.  Lead author Ibhar Al Mheid, MD, a cardiovascular researcher at Emory University School of Medicine said,

“We found that people with vitamin D deficiency had vascular dysfunction comparable to those with diabetes or hypertension.”

The researchers believe that vitamin D acts to strengthen the endothelial cells and muscles that surround blood vessels.  Al Mheid also believes that it could be reducing levels of angiotensin, a hormone that drives increased blood pressure, or regulating inflammation.  Wow, I wonder what these results mean for the overuse of statins?

But again, the best part: Those study participants with low blood vitamin D levels that then increased their concentrations by either supplementing or spending more time in the sun, were rechecked after six months and showed improvement to their vascular health measures and lowered their blood pressure.  Booyah!  Forty-two participants with vitamin D insufficiency whose levels later went back to normal had an average drop in blood pressure of 4.6 mmHg.  The study’s findings were reported at this year’s annual American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans.

What can I say other than “heck yes!“  Why should I care about these results?  Because it makes the universe more understandable to me.  I know with certainty that human health operates within universal laws.  I know that the increased incidence of high blood pressure today is not due to a lack of statin medication.  I also know that health is not random (genetics), and that vitamin D insufficiency is epidemic in North America.  Furthermore, it is not lost on me that blood vitamin D levels are low in many people at a time when dermatologists have scared people out of the sunshine and into big hats and SPF5000.

Here is just some more evidence that sun energy is essential to human health.  Everybody needs unprotected sun exposure on a daily basis, period.  Supplementation helps, but nothing–and I mean nothing–beats the healing energy of our life-giving sun.

5 Responses to Vitamin D Insufficiency Linked to HBP

  1. Jenny Arata says:

    There’s a lot of information about Vitamin D deficiency out there, but no one seems to say how much skin exposure is needed. Not only that, but Dr. Mercola says that people in the northern hemisphere cannot get adequate levels of vitamin D due to the angle of the sun. So the question is, how does one really get enough WITHOUT supplementation or is it even possible? Mercola also suggests that many sunblocks prevent the body from absorbing vitamin D. What are your thoughts, Nick?

  2. I live in L.A. and I supplement. The bottom line is that we just don’t spend enough time in the sun. I’m not talking sun worshiping here, but time in sunlight sans sunscreen (and sunblock?…heavens, throw it out!). Our lives have become progressively more indoor-centric, and so we need to consciously get outdoors and get a little sun (this is very similar to our developed relationship to movement and exercise). If you really want to get the vitamin D without supplementing, you probably need daily sun time up to half hour without sunscreen, so take up gardening or become a construction worker (although people that still work outdoors should protect with sunscreen). Thanks Jenny!

  3. rhinoplasty says:

    This is something useful information. Sometime overdose of Vitamin D is create some problem like high blood pressure.

  4. Alex says:

    What Dr. Campos is referring to is do everything in moderation when taking say Vitamin D. It’s best to get your Vitamin D from sunlight. Well, the amount of time you spend outdoors with your cap / hat off, this is pretty important mind you, to help get the Vitamin D, not just on your arms. Assuming you don’t have skin cancer or a skin condition that is worsened by sunlight. The best information I can give you is start out small scale, be out for around 10 to 15 minutes and do that every day or as much as you can for about a month, then bump it up to 20, do a month of that, then up to 25, the max you really need is 1/2 hour.

    If you are in Alaska there are other ways to change the angle of the sun, there are mirrors, optical focusing and diffusion arrays you can use to get the right angle of the sun without doing damage. The tanning beds are really bad news, they give you way too much ultra-violet radiation which can do more harm than good.

    If you take Vitamin D please bear in mind that you need 2 other Vitamins to help you convert and use it in your body. Vitamin F aka linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linoleic acid (LNA) and Vitamin G aka Riboflavin which was reclassified and named B2.

    If you were ever so curious as to where the word “Vitamin” came from, it’s actually a concatenation of two words, Vital Mineral. Ironically, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium are all vital or our survival but they never made it into the “Vitamin” category and classification.

    Odd, isn’t it?

  5. Vitamin D3 is one of my favorite subjects thank you Dr. Campos for bringing it up. This link is legit…It may interest you since you are a chiropractor and it is on vitamin D and Osteoporosis. This is only one search of the thousands of research completed studies on vitamin D and osteoporosis…don’t stop there I didn’t…go to vitamin d3 and type in every autoimmune disease you can think of…http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19685057 I know you know the lingo already being a doctor and you provided great information above that I thank you for sharing! Trying to find anyway to give back….though you probably already know…but just in case…never know plenty of doctors who have no idea about this information that you provided and the one I provide here alone. Being that you are a chiropractor already puts you ahead of the game so for you and other chiropractors I have come across usually always know more than md’s and even homeopathic doctors. Is it true Chiropractors study two more years in medical school than MD’s or is this a myth?

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