Health

Can vitamin D deficiency be a cause of heart attacks? Let’s know the truth

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Vitamin D is critical for the body, and its deficiency can cause several health issues, including cardiac arrests.

Vitamin D deficiency is traditionally associated with bone and muscle weakness, but in recent years a number of studies have shown that low levels of the sunshine vitamin may predispose the body to high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and chronic blood vessel inflammation.

The Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, the official journal of the Academy of Family Physicians in India, reports that patients with low levels of vitamin D had a 60 percent higher risk of heart disease. And the Journal of Clinical Hypertension asserts that congestive heart failure can be linked to vitamin D deficiency.

vitamin D and cardiovascular disease
Vitamin D is essential to manage vitamin D and cardiovascular health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The mechanism for how vitamin D may protect from heart diseases has not been fully elucidated. Several mechanisms have been proposed, including negatively regulating renin mechanism to lower blood pressure, improving vascular compliance, decreasing parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels, reduce inflammation and improving glycemic control.

If you have heart failure, you’re more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency. Increasing intake of the vitamin can boost heart health and improve our quality of life.

How can vitamin D help you to protect yourself from Covid-19?

Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones and muscles, but there is also good evidence that it provides some protection against contracting infections of the respiratory tract.

The sunshine vitamin is obtained from food and exposure to sunlight. It contributes to the proper functioning of immune system in a variety of ways, including defending the body from invading viruses and other pathogens.

According to the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization, there isn’t enough data available to recommend use of vitamin D to prevent infection by the virus. Other research has observed high rates of vitamin D deficiency in people with Covid-19, who experienced acute respiratory failure.

Also, read: Don’t miss out on vitamin D if you have PCOS – here’s why

Vitamin D boosts our immune system and eases inflammation, and experts say more research is needed on its antiviral properties.

Protecting your joints during winter

A balanced diet is the key to healthy living. Eat a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, cereals, dairy products, and pulses. Along with diet, physical activity plays an important role. Our physical activity may not necessarily be an hour in the gym, but can also be a 30-minute brisk walk.

vitamin D and cardiovascular disease
Save your joints and muscles from wear and tear. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Exercising also strengthens the muscles and maintains your weight, and thus supports your knees to balance your weight. During the winter season, ensure you get adequate vitamin A, D, E, K, and C. Most of these micronutrients come from milk and dairy products, eggs, spinach, broccoli, carrots, peas, and oranges. They provide antioxidants, and prevent the inflammatory process in our body.

Caffeinated drinks and fizzy drinks like cola minimize the absorption of calcium and cause calcium deficiency, which can lead to problems in bones. So, apart from having calcium-rich food, one should avoid having fizzy drinks so that the calcium that you are having is absorbed by your body.

Foods that can help boost vitamin D levels

Fatty fish and seafood like tuna, mackerel, oysters, shrimp, and sardines are among the richest natural food sources of vitamin D. Egg yolks are another source of vitamin D that you can easily add to your routine.

Vitamin D is often fortified to some staple foods— such as cow’s milk, and plant-based milk alternatives like soy, almond, and hemp milk.
For many people, taking a vitamin D supplement may be the best way to ensure adequate intake.

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