Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk of heart attack

There is an increasing consensus that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of having a heart attack or other heart diseases. This is the finding of a study by Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D., of Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston and his colleagues:

Men with a vitamin D deficiency (having 15 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less) had an increased risk for heart attack compared with those with a sufficient amount (having 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood or more) of vitamin D.

Of course lifestyle, genetic profile and diet are factors to be considered, their study has strengthened the link between vitamin D deficiency and risks of getting heart attacks. It is general knowledge that Vitamin D is created in our skin when we are exposed to high levels of ultraviolet light, hence it is highly encouraged to jog early in the morning or walk in the early morning sunshine to get a healthy dose of the so-called ‘sunshine vitamin.’ If you are too lazy or busy to walk or jog in the morning, an easier alternative is taking up supplemental pills rich with vitamin D. Sufficiently Advanced has a warning though:

vitamin D is fat-soluble, and can accumulate to toxic levels within the body.

A change in diet like having more fish meat in our meals would also help in getting more vitamin D.

Speaking of vitamin D, sunshine and heart disease, the study also shows a peculiar trend as mentioned by Supplemental Science:

The new finding may help explain why heart attack incidence has a peculiar distribution. It has been shown that deaths related to cardiovascular disease are more frequent in higher latitudes and during the winter months – when and where the sun rarely shines – and are less frequent at higher altitudes.

So my first thoughts were the same could be said of the Philippines since our country is near the equator (low latitude) and we get plenty of sunshine all year round. Parallel Universe shares data from the Department of Health that says otherwise, heart diseases are now the number one killer of Filipinos. He notes a good observation:

The resources just say it is number one, and for the past several years beginning in the early 90s, the complex group of heart diseases has been the Philippines’ top killer. From 1942 to the 1980s, infectious diseases used to be the Philippines’ top killer.

The culprits? Increasing fat intake, increasing diabetes cases, and high cholesterol levels according to a study mentioned by Dr Emer.

Now that this is the case, I suppose we should cut back on delicious pulutan and good beer, go to bed early, get up and jog early in the morning to get some warm sunshine and take that glass of milk every once in a while.

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