Vitamin D supplements help heart failure patients live longer

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By Jimmy Downs

Friday Sept 28, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in European Journal of Heart Failure suggests that taking vitamin D supplements may help prevent premature death from heart failure.

Israel Gotsman of Heart Institute, Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel and colleagues conducted the study and found patients with heart failure were more likely than controls to have vitamin D deficiency.

And they also found that heart failure patients who were vitamin D deficient were 52 percent more likely to die prematurely than those with having sufficient vitamin and controls with vitamin D deficiency were also more likely to die than those with sufficient vitamin D.

The study involved 3009 patients with heart failure and 46,825 controls without the disease in a health maintenance organizations.  Serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D[259OH)D] levels were measured in all participants.

The median level of vitamin D for heart failure patients was found at 36.9 nmol/L, compared to 40.7 nmol/L for the controls.  Vtamin D deficiency was found in 28% of patients with heart failure, compared to 22% among controls.  Only 8.8% of the heart failure patients had optimal vitamin D level, which is 75 nmol/L or greater, according to the researchers.

During a median 518-day clinical follow-up, among patients with heart failure, those who had vitamin D deficiency were 52 percent more likely to die and among controls, those with vitamin D deficiency were 91 percent more likely to die.

More interestingly, vitamin D supplementation was found independently associated with 32 percent reduced death risk in heart failure  patients. 

The risk factors for vitamin D deficiency in heart failure patients included decreased exposure to solar radiation, body mass index, type 2 diabetes, female fender, pulse, and decreased serum calcium and hemoglobin levels.

The researchers concluded "Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in HF patients and is a significant predictor of reduced survival. Vitamin D supplementation was associated with improved outcome."

What is heart failure?  According to Maryland Heart Center, heart failure is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump an adequate amount of blood to where it is needed. Heart failure may be developed suddenly or slowly or gradually over many years.    Typical heart failure symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, kidney failure and shortness of breath.

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