HONOLULU, April 23 Women over age 65 who took vitamin D had nearly one-third less risk of dying from heart disease as women who did not take the supplements, according to research presented today at the American Heart Associations Asia Pacific Scientific Forum meeting today.
Vitamin D and calcium are part of the standard therapy for the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis.
Low blood levels of certain forms of vitamin D have been associated with increased risk of heart attacks, but to my knowledge no one has studied whether vitamin D supplements affect the risk of heart disease events, says Paul D. Varosy, M.D. a fellow in cardiology and medicine at the University of California at San Francisco and the San Francisco VA Medical Center.
Because previous investigators have established a possible association between blood levels of vitamin D and heart disease, and because taking a simple multivitamin tablet is inexpensive, safe and common, especially among older adults, we thought it would make sense to address our question, he says.
The researchers studied 9,704 women ages 65 and older enrolled in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. The subjects included 4,272 women who reported current use of vitamin D supplements. Varosy says the researchers did not ask for details on the type or amount of vitamin D taken, but they think that most of the women got the standard recommended daily dose of 400 international units contained in multivitamin tablets.
During an average follow-up period of nearly 11 years, 420 of the women died of coronary heart disease (CHD). Women who used vitamin D supplements had 31 percent less risk of heart disease death as those who did not take the supplements. The use of calcium supplements did not affect those results. Researchers controlled for possible factors that could alter the results, such as heart disease risk factors, calcium supplement use, self-reported health status, education and behaviors su
Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association