Vitamin D Supplements: Lowering Heart Attack Risks with Proven Efficacy

**Vitamin D Supplements May Lower the Risk of Major Heart Problems in Older Adults**

A recent study conducted over a span of six years suggests that vitamin D supplements may reduce the risk of major heart problems in older adults. The study involved more than 20,000 participants aged 60 to 84 in Australia. Half of the group took a monthly supplement of 60,000 IUs of vitamin D, while the other half received a placebo for up to five years. The occurrence of heart health events was closely monitored between 2014 and 2020. At the five-year checkup, the group taking vitamin D had a lower risk of experiencing a major cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack, compared to the placebo group.

**The Effect of Vitamin D on Cardiovascular Health**

According to Rachel Neale, the author of the study and deputy coordinator of the Population Health Department at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, the beneficial effect of vitamin D on cardiovascular health appears to be stronger in individuals who are already taking medications to treat conditions like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. However, she notes that individuals who are not vitamin D deficient should be aware that while the evidence suggests that more vitamin D could be beneficial for heart health, it is not conclusive. The difference in the incidence of heart problems between the two groups was small, but the findings do warrant further evaluation of the role of vitamin D supplementation, especially in individuals taking drugs to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease.

**The Health Benefits of Vitamin D**

Previous research has highlighted the various health benefits of vitamin D. One study showed that vitamin D supplementation in older adults reduced the risk of developing dementia by 40%. Higher levels of vitamin D in brain tissue have also been associated with improved cognitive function and memory.

**Sources of Vitamin D and Recommended Intake**

The sun is one of the best sources of vitamin D, and certain foods like salmon, trout, fortified orange juice, and milk are also high in vitamin D. However, if these sources are insufficient, supplementation is an option. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU per day for individuals aged 1 to 70, and 800 IU for those over 70.

It is important to consult with a doctor before starting new supplements or increasing vitamin D intake. Excessive amounts of vitamin D can lead to calcium buildup and kidney damage. Neale advises against a policy shift based solely on the results of this study. However, individuals, especially those at risk of heart disease, may consider taking a higher-dose vitamin D supplement.

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