Vitamin D and Heart Failure/Vitamin D and Cognitive Decline

Vitamin D and Heart Failure

According to a study done at the University of Leeds in the UK, taking a daily dose of vitamin D may improve heart function in people diagnosed with heart failure. They discovered that the amount of blood pumped from the heart was boosted in patients who took vitamin D3 supplements. The study involved 163 patients already being treated for heart failure, who were given either 4000 IU of vitamin D3, or a placebo, every day for a year.

Each patient was tested for heart function using cardiac ultrasound, and the results indicated that for those taking the vitamin D, the heart’s pumping function improved by between 26% and 34%, while there was no change in those taking the placebo.

In a statement, consultant cardiologist Dr Klaus Witte who led the study says: “This is a significant breakthrough for patients. It is the first evidence that vitamin D3 can improve heart function of people with heart muscle weakness – known as heart failure. These findings could make a significant difference to the care of heart failure patients.”

The research is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and has been presented to the College’s 65th Annual Scientific Session and Expo in Chicago.

Vitamin D and Cognitive Decline

Tying into to my recent series of blogs about Alzheimer’s disease, is this study linking lower vitamin D levels to a higher risk of cognitive decline.

This research was part of the Progetto Veneto Anziani (Pro.V.A.), an Italian population-based cohort study of 1,927 elderly subjects. Blood levels of vitamin D were measured at the baseline, and participants were followed for 4.4 years. Participants with vitamin D deficiency (<50 nmol/L) or insufficiency (50-75 nmol/L) were more likely to have declining MMSE (Mini-Mental State Examination) scores during the follow-up than those who had sufficient levels of vitamin D (≥75 nmol/L).

“The results of our study support an independent association between low 25OHD levels and cognitive decline in elderly individuals. In cognitively intact elderly subjects, 25OHD levels below 75 nmol/L are already predictive of global cognitive dysfunction at 4.4 years” (Neurology. 2014 Dec 9;83(24). “Vitamin D deficiency predicts cognitive decline in older men and women: The Pro.V.A. Study.” Toffanello ED, et al.)

I will point out here that U.S. experts on vitamin D consider an ideal level to be 50 ng/ml. This European data converts as such: 50 nmol/L is equal to 20 ng/ml and 75 nmol/L is equal to 30 ng/ml. Therefore, even at the relatively low level of 75 nmol/L (or 30 ng/ml) the participants were protected from cognitive decline, but this is still well below the ideal range of 50 ng/ml.

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