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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/30/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

About 90 percent of the body's supply of vitamin D comes from sunlight on skin

High blood pressure is seen as the major silent killer in the U.S., responsible for heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. Some researchers now claim that taking vitamin D supplements could cut blood pressure by as much as some drugs.

Sun exposure tops up natural levels more effectively than through diet. Around 90 percent of the body's supply of vitamin D comes from the action of sunlight on the skin.

Sun exposure tops up natural levels more effectively than through diet. Around 90 percent of the body's supply of vitamin D comes from the action of sunlight on the skin.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/30/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Vitamin D, high blood pressure, deficiency, study, sunlight


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A new study has shown supplements lowered blood pressure in patients diagnosed with hypertension, or high blood pressure - compared with those taking placebo.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with high blood pressure. However, until now there has been little scientific evidence that levels of the vitamin in the blood would make a difference.

As presented at the European Society of Hypertension meeting in London, the new study proved direct benefits from taking supplements for five months in winter.

Sun exposure tops up natural levels more effectively than through diet. Around 90 percent of the body's supply of vitamin D comes from the action of sunlight on the skin.

For those who live in countries where there is very little sunlight, such as the U.K., this could prove to be a problem. Researchers studied patients visiting the Holstebro Hospital in Denmark, which is at the 56th Northern latitude - about the same latitude as Glasgow and Moscow.
 
Altogether 112 patients taking part had their initial levels of vitamin D measured, and then they were given either Vitamin D or a placebo or dummy pill for 20 weeks.

The researchers found that those patients taking the vitamin D supplement daily showed a significant reduction in central systolic blood pressure, blood pressure measured near the heart.

A high blood pressure reading is one that exceeds 140/90 millimeters of mercury. The first figure, the systolic pressure, corresponds to the "surge" that occurs with each heart beat while the diastolic reading is the pressure in the "resting" stage between beats.

Study leader Dr Thomas Larsen says that "probably the majority of Europeans have vitamin D deficiency, and many of these will also have high blood pressure.

"What our results suggest is that hypertensive patients can benefit from vitamin D supplementation if they have vitamin D insufficiency.

"Vitamin D would not be a cure for hypertension in these patients, but it may help, especially in the winter months." Larsen says.

Researchers say that it is important not to jump to conclusions. "However, it is important to stress, that this was a small study, and that larger studies are needed to provide solid evidence." ESH Vice-President, Professor Anna Dominiczak of Glasgow University says. "Until now, there has been little evidence of benefit from vitamin D to patents with hypertension.

"The reduction in systolic blood pressure was quite significant - this is what powerful drugs do in trials.

"This is an initial study, so it needs to be confirmed, but it is potentially interesting as part of an overall strategy for managing hypertension in patients with low levels of vitamin D."

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, several cancers, and autoimmune conditions as well as osteomalacia, which is the painful manifestation of soft bones in adults.

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Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
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Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
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