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Vitamin D deficiency tied to arterial stiffness

Category: Vitamin D Deficiency-Diagnosis and Treatment

Vitamin D testing may reveal more than just an individual's nutritional standing. It may also assess their heart health. New research out of Emory University shows that people with low levels of the nutrient often have stiff arteries.

This condition is considered an important predictor of overall heart health. Blood vessel flexibility plays an important role in controlling blood pressure. Stiff arteries frequently lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack.

For the study, researchers collected data from 553 employees of Emory University and Georgia Tech University. Blood samples showed that 14 percent of the participants had vitamin D deficiency, while another 33 percent had insufficient levels of the nutrient. Those who had the lowest vitamin D levels had significantly stiffer arteries.

The study was unable to determine the reason for the correlation. However, the researchers speculated that vitamin D may strengthen endothelial cells, which contribute to the elasticity of blood vessels.

They said that their findings are important because doctors are diagnosing vitamin D deficiency in increasing numbers. This could put millions of people at an elevated risk for developing cardiovascular problems.

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