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”. 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, 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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A new study reveals that there is a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular health. Is this true? Let our experts tell you all!
Most of us are already aware that vitamin D aka the sunshine vitamin can really impact bone health, but a new study also reveals that it can affect cardiovascular health. As per a study conducted by the University of South Australia published in the European Heart Journal, researchers have identified genetic evidence for a role of vitamin D deficiency in causing cardiovascular disease.
The study went on to show that those with vitamin D deficiency are likely to suffer from heart disease and high blood pressure. In fact, those participants with lowest concentrations of vitamin D showed a more than double risk than those who had sufficient concentrations.
So, why is it linked? And what are some ways in which we can get our dose of this essential vitamin? Of course, we do know that staying at home during the pandemic has impacted it, but how can we make up for the damage?
The link between vitamin D and heart health
Dr Ann Mary, Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Amrita Hospital, tells HealthShots, “Vitamins are essential nutrients, which are essential for growth and development. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and has a significant role in calcium homeostasis and bone metabolism. Over the last few years, there has been widespread attention given to its role in preventing cardiovascular disease. A deficiency has been related to coronary artery calcification, myocardial infarction, stroke and congestive cardiac failure.”
She adds that there are several studies that have demonstrated the presence of coronary artery disease in vitamin D-deficient individuals.
“But there are still many gaps in knowledge in the relationship between vitamin D and cardiovascular disease that can be established,” says Dr Mary.
Elaborating on this, Dr Seema Dhir, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Artemis Hospitals, Gurugram, says, “This particular vitamin is known to have a certain anti-inflammatory properties, and the cause of this can cause a reduction in blood pressure. It can reduce osteosclerosis and cholesterol dysfunction, which is what protects the heart.”
Also, read: Did you know a vitamin D deficiency could be the reason behind your belly fat?
What is the solution?
Dr Mary shares that there are several causes which can lead to vitamin D deficiency. These are mainly because of decreased intake or absorption, reduced sun exposure, increased breakdown or decreased synthesis in the body.
Also, read: Diabetes can lead to depression. Can omega-3 and vitamin D supplements help?
“The majority of vitamin D that is needed is created by the body from direct sunlight on the skin, when outdoors. Provitamin D3 is synthesized non-enzymatically in the skin from dehydrocholesterol during exposure to the ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Subsequently, with the help of enzymatic reactions, it is converted to active vitamin D3. The other sources of vitamin D3 are oily fish such as salmon, sandives, herring and mackerel, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods,” she adds.
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