If You're Lacking This Vitamin, Your Heart May Be in Danger, Study Finds

A study has found a link between a particular vitamin deficiency and heart problems.

People take vitamins for a simple reason: Having the right level of vitamins in your system helps keep your body running smoothly. Various vitamin deficiencies have a variety of symptoms, some more severe than others, and lacking certain vitamins can actually put you at risk for serious conditions. In fact, a recent study found that one particular vitamin deficiency is linked to heart problems. Read on to learn which vitamin is associated with cardiovascular trouble, and for a supplement that you should be careful with, If You Take This Popular Supplement, Your Heart May Be at Risk, Study Says.

A study found that a lack of vitamin D is associated with cardiovascular diseases.

Cropped shot of senior man holding his chest and feeling pain suffering from heart attack outdoor at the park

Researchers from Saudi Arabia conducted a study among 360 cardiac hospital patients, publishing their findings Dec. 2020 in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine. According to the study, more than 40 percent of the participants had vitamin D deficiency and nearly 28 percent had vitamin D insufficiency. In comparison, only 31 percent had normal levels of vitamin D. After adjusting for other factors, the researchers concluded that "vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are associated with ischemic heart disease, hyperglycemia, and hypertriglyceridemia." Per the study, cardiac patients are two times more likely to be associated with vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. And for vitamins to avoid, This Is the One Vitamin You Should Never Take, Doctors Say.

There are multiple factors that can cause vitamin D deficiency.

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Your body typically produces vitamin D on its own, like when you're out in the sun. But certain factors can lead to lower vitamin D levels. According to the experts at Johns Hopkins, obesity is a major risk factor for lower vitamin D levels because fat cells absorb this vitamin and prevent it from circulating through the blood stream. Women and people with dark skin also tend to have lower vitamin D levels, as well as older individuals, who absorb less vitamin D from their diet and produce less vitamin D in their skin. In the Saudi Arabian study, the researchers found that female cardiac patients over the age of 60 were the most likely to be vitamin D deficient. And for more heart risk factors to be aware of, This Supplement Can Cause Cardiac Arrest If You Take Too Much, Doctors Say.

Pay attention to the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.

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Vitamin D is essential in keeping your body functioning well, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, you may experience fatigue, bone pain, mood changes, muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps. Your doctor can test your vitamin D levels, per the Cleveland Clinic, but they don't usually order routine checks, so you should look out for any symptoms and ask to be tested if you're worried that you are lacking the vitamin.

Finding out if you are vitamin D deficient can help you know to look out for signs of heart trouble. For ischemic heart disease, which is also known as coronary heart disease, you may experience angina, shortness of breath with physical activity, fatigue, and neck pain, per the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. For hyperglycemia, the Cleveland Clinic says you may experience increased vomiting, excessive hunger and thirst, rapid heartbeat, and vision problems. Hypertriglyceridemia, which is high triglyceride levels, usually doesn't present symptoms, but if your levels are high enough, you may experience pain in the mid-abdomen, chest, or back, as well as nausea and vomiting, according to Medscape. And for more useful information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Experts say that taking lots of vitamin D supplements won't lower your risk, however.

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Unless you have a deficiency, there's no reason to run out and grab vitamin D for your heart health. According to a 2019 analysis published in JAMA Cardiology, taking vitamin D supplements does not reduce the risk of having or dying from a heart attack or stroke. In a statement, JoAnn Manson, MD, the lead author of one of the studies included in the analysis, told the American Heart Association (AHA) that just because low levels of vitamin D are strongly associated with a risk of having cardiovascular diseases, that doesn't mean the deficiency is necessary causing them. And consuming large amounts of vitamin D supplements could cause problems of its own.

"There has been some concern that very high doses of supplementation could increase the risk of blood vessel calcification and could actually have adverse effects," Manson explained. "So, an important principle is that more is not necessarily better, and in fact, mega-dosing on vitamin D can have some harmful effects." And for more potential dangers, If You Take These 2 OTC Meds Together, You're Putting Your Liver at Risk.

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