Yesterday, I told you about the 10 real risk factors for heart disease. And I ended my report with a recommendation to take one key vitamin. In fact, new research shows older men and women who have adequate blood levels of this vitamin have lower cardiovascular disease risk. I’ll tell you more about that vitamin in a moment. But first, let’s back up.
Like many chronic diseases, heart disease starts with inflammation.
You probably know the visible effects of inflammation–pain, redness, heat, and swelling. And you’ve probably experienced it after twisting an ankle or straining your back. In these cases, the inflammatory process is the first step toward self-healing.
But not all inflammation is the same. Some inflammation occurs inside the body–and it does not lead to healing. It only leads to destruction. In fact, inflammation in your cardiovascular system can cause damage to your heart and blood vessels.
So, as I reported yesterday, it’s very important to ask your doctor for the C-reactive protein (CRP) test. If your numbers are too high, it means you have a lot of harmful inflammation in your cardiovascular system. And, therefore, you have a much higher risk of developing heart disease.
Fortunately, one key vitamin appears to help lower inflammation throughout the body. Including in your cardiovascular system.
Of course, I’m talking about the incredible and versatile vitamin D.
In a new study, researchers explored the role of vitamin D in inflammation and chronic disease in 957 healthy, older adults. At the study’s outset, the researchers measured the participants’ vitamin D levels. They defined anything above 75 nmol/L as “sufficient” vitamin D. And anything below 25 nmol/L as “deficient.”
They found that men and women deficient in vitamin D had higher levels of biomarkers linked with cardiovascular disease. In fact, they had significantly higher levels of C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 (another marker of inflammation tied to heart disease) compared to those who had sufficient vitamin D levels. The men and women were also more likely to have other inflammatory conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis.
In an interview, Dr. Clifford J. Rosen of Tufts University School of Medicine underscored the importance of this study. He said, “I think all of us now think that inflammation is a critical factor in a lot of disease…so there’s some rationale for thinking about trying to reduce chronic inflammation with something as simple as vitamin D. And it may have a further effect on atherosclerotic risk of cardiovascular disease.”
In other words, lowering your cardiovascular risk and protecting yourself from just about every other chronic disease may be as simple as getting more vitamin D.
Unfortunately, as much as 80 percent of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient. And those statistics won’t get any better any time soon as long as health “experts” in this country continue to push propaganda to avoid the sun completely.
The truth is, you can–and should–spend 20 minutes a day in the sun without sunscreen. This healthy exposure will help boost your vitamin D levels naturally.
Plus, ignore all the medical experts who continue to claim that taking vitamin D and measuring blood levels isn’t important.
You should take a vitamin D supplement. Currently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily for adults up to age 70. After age 71, the IOM recommends increasing intake to 800 IU. But these recommendations are based on findings regarding bone health.
Ongoing research proves you need much higher doses to achieve and maintain optimal vitamin D levels in the body. I recommend everyone take a daily, high-quality supplement that contains 5,000 IU of vitamin D. If you don’t like taking too many pills or capsules, look for a vitamin D in liquid form. You can take it straight from the dropper or add it to any beverage you like.
1. “Lack of Vitamin D Linked to CVD Biomarkers, Inflammation,” Medscape (www.medscape.com) 2/27/2014
2. “Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D Insufficiency in the US Population, 1988-2004” Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(6):626-632
3. “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with inflammation in older Irish adults,” J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2014
4. “The nonskeletal effects of vitamin D: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement,” Endocr Rev 2012; 33:456-492