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Vitamin D testing may be particularly important for overweight African Americans, as new research suggests that these individuals are at greater risk of deficiencies and that the nutrient plays an important role in cardiovascular health.
After examining the effect of vitamin D supplementation in 45 African Americans, half of whom were overweight, researchers from the Georgia Health Sciences University found that those who received injections of 60,000 international units of the nutrient has significantly improved endothelial cell function.
These cells line the arteries and are responsible for constricting and widening blood vessels. When they lose their function, individuals often experience difficulty controlling their blood pressure. This can lead to a number of cardiovascular complications.
"This points to a beneficial effect of vitamin D supplementation on endothelial cell function," said Dr Ryan Harris, who led the study. He adds that this is good news for African Americans, given their risks for CVD. "If you're deficient in vitamin D and you take supplements, you have a good probability of increasing endothelial function and therefore decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease."
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