Researchers in the School of Medicine examined the effects of Vitamin D supplements provided to patients aged 70 and over who had isolated systolic hypertension – the most common type of high blood pressure among older people.
Previous research had suggested that Vitamin D could have a positive effect in controlling hypertension. The Dundee study included 159 participants in a randomised trial carried out over a year.
‘Unfortunately what we see is that Vitamin D does not improve high blood pressure,’ said Dr Miles Witham, who led the study. ‘This is disappointing as previous research had suggested that low Vitamin D levels were associated with higher blood pressure. Given that it is a readily available and safe treatment, it would have been a boost if we had found a beneficial effect.
‘There are other trials being carried out to determine whether Vitamin D could be a help with other conditions such as heart disease or stroke, and we will wait to see the results of those.
‘It has been important to carry out this study, particularly in terms of working with older people as they are the people suffer the most from these conditions. This study shows how important it is to make sure that treatments are properly tested in trials, rather than assuming that new treatments will work. Disappointingly, in this case the answer is that Vitamin D doesn’t seem to help high blood pressure in this group of older patients.’
The results of the study have been published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
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