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D.iet & H.ealth : N.utrition Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00

High levels of Vitamin D linked to anti-inflammatory functions
By Kathy Jones
Apr 12, 2006, 22:42

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April 12 ( - High doses of Vitamin D supplements could help patients with heart failure since they inhibit the pro-inflammatory molecules and appear to boost the anti-inflammatory ones, according to a German clinical trial.

The study, appearing in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, analyzed the effect of a high-dose vitamin D3 supplement on the heart pumping ability of 123 patients with known chronic heart failure (CFT).

In the study, a group of the patients consumed 50 micrograms or 2,000 International Units of vitamin D3 in a form of supplement while a control group took a placebo. Both groups received about 500 milligrams of calcium per day.

Researchers also measured the effect of the vitamin D supplement on cytokine levels. These molecules are powerful pro-inflammatory substances that are found to be associated with the increased risk of CHF in some recent studies.

After nine months of therapy, researchers found that those who received vitamin D supplements had their serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D increased by 26.8 nanograms per millilitre (ng/mL) whereas those in the placebo group had their serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D decreased by 3.6 ng/mL. The 25-hydroxyvitamin D is a storage form of vitamin D in the body.

In addition, levels of Interleukin 10 (IL-10), which is an anti-inflammatory compound, increased by 43 percent in the group receiving the vitamin supplements, but showed no change in the placebo group.

The heart function was also measured in all participants as marked by left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). But there was no difference in heart function in either group.

ˇ°We showed for the first time that a daily supplement of 50 micrograms vitamin D for nine months is able to increase serum concentrations of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 and to prevent an increase in serum concentrations of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha in CHF patients,ˇ± the lead author of the study Stefanie Schleithoff from the University of Bonn wrote in the report.

These findings are also consistent with a Journal of the American College of Cardiology report (2003, Vol. 41, pp. 105-112), which had linked heart disease to vitamin D deficiency.

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