A daily dose of vitamin D3 could help the millions of people who suffer from heart failure, research suggests.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 1:2 (KJV)
EDITOR’S NOTE: I have been taking a vitamin D3 gelcap in the amount of 5,000IU on a daily basis for years, and absolutely feel it provides me with an elevated level of health and internal cardiovascular fitness along with regular gym workouts.
The vitamin has long been known to help strengthen the bones, but experts are growing increasingly aware that it also has a role in cardiovascular health. Heart failure is caused by the heart failing to properly pump blood around the body, often after a heart attack, and is thought to affect around 23 million people worldwide.
Now, scientists at the University of Leeds have found that taking vitamin D3 – the most potent form of vitamin D – increases the heart’s pumping power by a third. The authors suspect it is because the vitamin regulates calcium levels, which play a crucial role in how the heart pumps.
The Amazing Health Benefits of Vitamin D3
In addition to helping your heart, there are dozens of other health benefits attached to daily taking vitamin D3.
When the heart contracts, calcium enters the heart cells, and when the heart relaxes, calcium leaves again. In heart failure patients, the calcium is not forced out on each relaxation, clogging the cells and stopping the heart from pumping properly. The scientists think vitamin D may help the heart clear calcium from the cells.
The cardiologists tested the supplement on 160 patients from Leeds who were already being treated for heart failure. The group was split in half, with some patients taking vitamin D every day for a year and the others taking a dummy ‘placebo’ tablet.
The researchers, who presented their findings yesterday at the American College of Cardiology annual conference in Chicago, measured changes in heart function with cardiac ultrasound.
They found that the patients who took vitamin D saw an increase in the volume of blood pumped out from the heart by 26 to 34 per cent. In the others, who took placebo, there was no change in cardiac function.
The authors said that taking vitamin D may reduce the need for patients to be fitted with a heart implants such as ICD defibrillators, devices which shock the heart to restore a normal rhythm. Study leader Dr Klaus Witte, consultant cardiologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: ‘This is a significant breakthrough for patients.
‘It is the first evidence that vitamin D3 can improve heart function of people with heart muscle weakness – known as heart failure. These findings could make a significant difference to the care of heart failure patients.’
He added: ‘ICDs are expensive and involve an operation.
‘If we can avoid an ICD implant in just a few patients, then that is a boost to patients and the NHS as a whole.’
Heart failure is caused by the heart failing to properly pump blood around the body, often after a heart attack.
The condition is thought to affect around 900,000 people in Britain, about 550,000 who have received a diagnosis.
When the heart contracts, calcium enters the heart cells, and when the heart relaxes, calcium leaves again. In heart failure patients, the calcium is not forced out on each relaxation, clogging the cells and stopping the heart from pumping properly.
The scientists think vitamin D may help the heart clear calcium from the cells.
Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which helped fund the study, said: ‘Ideally, any new treatment for heart failure should make patients feel better and live longer.
‘This research found that giving 12 months vitamin D supplementation to heart failure patients with subnormal vitamin D levels was safe and measurements of heart function showed some improvement.’ source