In a new study, researchers found that taking vitamin D supplements did not reduce heart disease risk.
The research was conducted by a team from Michigan State University.
Vitamin D sometimes is known as the sunshine vitamin, because human skin makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun.
Thus, those living farthest from the equator tend to have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood.
Previous research has shown a link between low levels of vitamin D in the blood and an increased risk of heart disease.
This suggests that vitamin D supplements might reduce that risk.
In the new study, the team reviewed data from 21 clinical trials, including more than 83,000 patients.
Half the patients were administered vitamin D supplements, and half were given placebos.
The meta-analysis of data showed no difference in cardiovascular events or all causes of death between the two groups.
They found that vitamin D supplements did not decrease the incidence of heart attacks, strokes or other major adverse cardiovascular events.
Vitamin D didn’t show even a small heart benefit. The result was consistent for both men and women and for patients of different ages.
The team suggests that other factors, such as outdoor physical activity and nutritional status, might explain the association.
They also noted that even though the new findings showed no effect on heart health, some patients, such as those being treated for osteoporosis, still might benefit from the supplements.
But doctors and patients need to think twice about taking the vitamin to minimize the chances of a heart attack or other cardiovascular issues.
One author of the study is Mahmoud Barbarawi, a clinical instructor in the MSU College of Human Medicine.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Cardiology.
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