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Johns Hopkins Health - Vitamin D May Be Good for Your Heart

Summer 2010
Issue No. 9

Vitamin D May Be Good for Your Heart

Date: July 20, 2010

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Much has been reported about the effect of vitamin D on your health - including that some of the good news is overhyped. But we do know, says cardiologist Erin Michos, M.D., that low vitamin D is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

“Several studies have shown this,” Michos says. “Even after accounting for other risk factors.”

What we don’t know, she adds, is whether getting your daily requirement-or more-of vitamin D may actually prevent cardiovascular disease. Clinical trials are happening right now to try to figure that out. What they reveal may point to a potential target for cardiovascular disease prevention.

In the meantime, there’s no harm in supplementing your vitamin D. How much do you need? Women, older people and those who are obese and overweight are more likely to be deficient, Michos says.

 Generally, 1,000 to 2,000 international units (IUs) are considered safe and adequate. And, although no one recommends overexposure to sunlight, as little as 10 minutes can give you 3,000 IUs of vitamin D.

“You want to be sensible, of course,” Michos says. “If you don’t get outdoors much, you should take the supplement.”

Check out other recent heart health news from Johns Hopkins at hopkinsmedicine.org/heart.

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