Dr Cora McGreevy and Professor David Williams authored the paper which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine Their review shows that emerging evidence indicates that a lack of vitamin D is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Approximately 10,000 people die each year in Ireland from cardiovascular disease – including coronary heart disease, stroke and other circulatory diseases (1).
However, there is no clear evidence to indicate that providing vitamin D supplements to patients has a role to play in the prevention of heart disease.
Dr Cora McGreevy and Professor David Williams, Department of Geriatric Medicine at RCSI and Beaumont Hospital
To date there have been a few randomised controlled trials to evaluate the effect of vitamin D replacement on cardiovascular problems, but the results have been inconclusive or contradictory.
Dr McGreevy and Professor Williams concluded that further large-scale studies are needed to prove that vitamin D supplementation has a role in protecting people from cardiovascular disease. Until further research is complete, vitamin D cannot be recommended as a treatment for preventing heart disease.
Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent worldwide with Northern European countries such as Ireland among those most affected due to low levels of sunlight at these latitudes in winter. Ultraviolet B light from the sun is essential for the manufacture Vitamin D in the body. Other risk factors for Vitamin D deficiency include advanced age and being institutionalised or home-bound.
(1) Source: Irish Heart Foundation