The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations declared that the year 2013 be recognized as "The International Year of Quinoa." Find out why ... What's New and Beneficial About Quinoa.
The George Mateljan Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests or
advertising, is a new force for change to help make a healthier you and a healthier world.
The role of vitamin D in heart disease

Over the past five years, vitamin D has emerged as one of the key nutrient deficiencies contributing to risk of many chronic diseases, including colon cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and osteoporosis. To this impressive list can now be added heart disease-including atherosclerosis.

Researchers have yet to determine the exact mechanisms connecting vitamin D with reduced risk of heart disease. Studies have already shown that vitamin D can lower inflammation by increasing levels of anti-inflammatory messengers like the cytokine named IL-10 (interleukin-10). Research has also shown that vitamin D can lower blood pressure, probably by inhibiting a regulatory system called the renin-angiotensin system. An analysis of vitamin D metabolism in 2006 has further suggested that vitamin D may be directly involved in cholesterol reduction. This analysis looked at the pharmacologic activity of certain cholesterol-lowering drugs called statin drugs. (The statin drugs, including lovastatin, pravastatin, and simvastain are some of the most widely-used prescription medicines for lowering cholesterol). It may turn out that these statin drugs act in the body by binding onto vitamin D receptors on cell membranes and mimicking the activity of vitamin D.

Risk of atherosclerosis increases with age, and so does the need for vitamin D. Some studies suggest that it may be difficult to prevent the chronic diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency unless the Adequate Intake (AI) levels set by the National Academy of Sciences in 1997 be treated as minimum standards for vitamin D intake. Those levels are 5 micrograms of vitamin D daily for adults under 50 years of age, 10 micrograms for adults 51-70, and 15 micrograms for everyone above the age of 70.

For more information on this topic, please see:


Grimes DS. Are Statins Analogues of Vitamin D? Lancet. 2006;368(9529):83-6.

Holick MF. Vitamin D: Importance in the Prevention of Cancers, Type 1 Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Osteoporosis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;79(3):362-71.

Holick MF. Vitamin D: Important for Prevention of Osteoporosis, Cardiovascular Heart Disease, Type 1 Diabetes, Autoimmune Diseases, and Some Cancers. South Med J. 2005;98(10):1024-7.

Reinhart GA. Vitamin D Analogs: Novel Therapeutic Agents for Cardiovascular Disease? Curr Opin Investig Drugs. 2004;5(9):947-51.

Schleithoff SS, Zittermann A, Tenderich G, et al. Vitamin D Supplementation Improves Cytokine Profiles in Patients With Congestive Heart Failure: a Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(4):754-9.

Zittermann A. Vitamin D and Disease Prevention With Special Reference to Cardiovascular Disease. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2006;92(1):39-48.

Printer friendly version

Send this page to a friend...


Newsletter SignUp Sign Up Now and get the first chapter of The World's Healthiest Foods book FREE.
Your Email:

With your purchase of our book, you'll receive online access to free gifts (valued at $24.95) to improve your health.

Eating Healthy

Cooking Healthy

Feeling Great


Privacy Policy and Visitor Agreement
For education only, consult a healthcare practitioner for any health problems.

We're Number 1 in the World!

20 million visitors per year.
The World's Healthiest Foods website is a leading source of information and expert on the Healthiest Way of Eating and Cooking. It's one of the most visited website on the internet when it comes to "Healthiest Foods" and "Healthiest Recipes" and comes up #1 on a Google search for these phrases.

Over 100 Quick & Easy Recipes

Our Recipe Assistant will help you find the recipe that suits your personal needs. The majority of recipes we offer can be both prepared and cooked in 30 minutes or less, from start to finish. A number of them can also be prepared ahead of time and enjoyed later.

World's Healthiest Foods Book

Online Access to 2 Free Gifts with your purchase you will receive online access to our 15 Minute Cooking Video and 83 page Guide to creating a "Healthiest Way of Eating Group." (Please note: Access is on-line; you will not receive anything in the mail.)

Now Available in Kindle | Order Now

privacy policy and visitor agreement | who we are | site map | what's new
For education only, consult a healthcare practitioner for any health problems.
© 2001-2013 The George Mateljan Foundation, All Rights Reserved