Did you know?
Traditionally associated with bone and muscle weakness, vitamin D deficiency is also linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and inflammation. Deficiency is linked to major cardiovascular events such as stroke and congestive heart failure as well. Although most of our requirement for D can come from sun exposure, deficiency is prevalent. Experts estimate that about half of adults and 30 percent of children and teenagers in the U.S. aren’t getting enough.
“Vitamin D deficiency is an unrecognized, emerging cardiovascular risk factor, which should be screened for and treated,” says James H. O’Keefe, MD, director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City. Salmon and other deepwater fish are good sources of vitamin D, as is fortified milk. However, you’d have to drink 10 to 20 glasses a day to get the recommended amount, making supplements a practical way to ensure an adequate intake. “Vitamin D is easy to access, and supplementation is simple, safe, and inexpensive,” says Dr. O’Keefe. “There is strong evidence that supplementing with vitamin D improves health.”