Stressful schedules, sedentary lifestyles, and poor diet have all contributed to the current epidemic of heart disease. Interestingly, lifestyle and dietary factors are also associated with another possibly related and potentially dangerous epidemic: vitamin D3 deficiency. Scientists have known for over a century that vitamin D3 is associated with bone health, but research now shows it also is an essential factor in heart health and overall wellness, including impaired immunity and cancer.
Natural Vitamin D3
Our skin is rich with underlying pre-vitamin D3 that sunlight activates. Vitamin D3 is not contained in food. In fact, our bodies are meant to obtain vitamin D3 from the sun. However, vitamin D3 supplements have become necessary because current lifestyles include living in colder, sun-deprived climates, working in offices, traveling by car, exercising inside rather than outdoors, and wearing clothes that cover all but five percent of our body surface area. Additional, phobias surrounding sun exposure causing skin cancer means that most of us are extremely sun-deprived, leaving our bodies unable to activate vitamin D3.
Heart Healthy Benefits of Vitamin D3
The benefits of vitamin D3 reach far beyond increasing bone health. Over the past four decades, research has cast a spotlight on the converging crossways of vitamin D and cardiovascular health. Eight crucial things you need to know about vitamin D3 in the body that benefit and contribute to heart health include:
1. Regulates blood pressure. Individuals who are vitamin D3 deficient are much more inclined to have elevated blood pressure. Treatment with calcium and vitamin D3 significantly reduces systolic blood pressure. Vitamin D3 likely produces this result by suppressing the release of the blood pressure hormone renin.
2. Anti-inflammatory results. Vitamin D3 has a powerful effect on reducing inflammation, as marked by C-reactive protein (CRP). In fact, dramatic decreases in CRP have been documented as a result of vitamin D3.
3. Anti-diabetic characteristics. Diabetes is widespread in people with reduced serum vitamin D3 levels. Vitamin D3 treatment decreases blood sugar levels and increases responsiveness to insulin. Changes in insulin sensitivity are linked to endless benefits, including a reduced risk of developing diabetes.
4. Chemoprevention. Vitamin D3 is shown to have dramatic cancer-preventive impacts in animal and experimental preparations and human trials. For instance, a recent study revealed that introducing vitamin D3 and calcium supplements decreased the rate of each type of cancer in postmenopausal women.
5. Osteoporosis prevention. Vitamin D3 is incredibly overlooked for osteoporosis prevention. Women are frequently prescribed expensive medications costing hundreds of dollars monthly when they are deficient in vitamin D3, which is a critical determinant of bone health. Replacing vitamin D3 to healthy levels considerably increases bone density more dramatically than does calcium supplementation. Also, absorption of calcium is amplified greatly by the presence of ample vitamin D3.
6. Stress fracture prevention. Even 19-year-old men experience more stress fractures when blood levels of vitamin D3 are low.
7. Multiple sclerosis prevention. Vitamin D3 deficiency has been associated with an increased probability of developing this disabling neurological disease in lighter-skinned individuals. Interestingly, the correlation between vitamin D3 deficiency and multiple sclerosis was not conclusive in African-American or Hispanic populations. Scientists think the active form of vitamin D3 helps thwart multiple sclerosis, which is considered an autoimmune disease, by selectively controlling the immune system.
8. Immune augmentation. Because influenza epidemics are more prevalent in the winter months, scientists have suggested that depressed vitamin D3 levels may predispose people to succumb to these potentially severe respiratory infections.
A direct link has yet to be formed between higher vitamin D levels and lower cardiovascular risk. But it’s important not to overlook other possible benefits.
Essential Nature of Vitamin D3 for Heart Health
Vitamin D3 deficiency has been shown to reduce heart muscle cells contractile function, distort heart muscle structure (triggering abnormal heart muscle growth or hypertrophy), contribute to endothelial dysfunction, and develop smooth muscle thickening in the coronary artery wall, a process that results in atherosclerotic plaque formation.
Decreased levels of vitamin D3 have been linked to congestive heart failure, a condition where the heart cannot keep up with the demands of the body for oxygen and blood. A recent study revealed that people with vitamin D3 deficiency had increased rates of diabetes, elevated triglycerides, and high blood pressure than those with higher vitamin D3 levels.
Although you can find vitamin D3 in milk, fortified orange juice, and fatty fish such as salmon, sunlight is the strongest natural source for vitamin D3. Getting just 10 minutes of exposure to moderate summer sun can supply you with 3,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3. You would need to drink about 30 glasses of milk to equal that amount. The required amount of vitamin D3 can also be taken in supplement for.
Ample data now indicates numerous benefits of vitamin D3 and heart health. Restoring vitamin D3 to standard levels has been found to improve insulin sensitivity, normalize blood pressure, and help reduce inflammation, all factors that decrease the risk of heart disease.