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Catch Some Extra Rays to Prevent Heart Disease

cardiologyParents are always reminding their children how important it is to take their vitamins, but who is reminding them?

A recent article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology discusses the link between vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease. Medical practitioners have begun to screen for vitamin D deficiency as a possible contributor to cardiovascular events. According to the article, there is substantial evidence that proves vitamin D deficiency is extremely common.

During a year-long study of more than 31,000 patients, researchers found that raising Vitamin D levels to higher than “normal” amounts resulted in lower rates of death, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure, high blood pressure, depression, and kidney failure.

Vitamin D is naturally found in fatty fishes like sardines and tuna, but only in small amounts. Most people also get Vitamin D from enriched foods like dairy products, juices, and cereals where additional nutrients have been added in. However, people get a vast majority of their Vitamin D (80-90%) through exposure to natural sunlight.

Most people with low levels of Vitamin D can catch up by spending a few extra minutes each day outdoors in natural sunlight without wearing sunscreen. However, some people in northern or rainy climates might not have regular access to sunlight and may need to speak with their doctor about adding a supplement to their diet.

Dr. Steven Shayani Medical Director of Long Island Heart Associates and the Mount Sinai Director of Outpatient Services for Long Island stated, “The increased prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is startling. We are testing our patients in order to ensure they are receiving the appropriate amount of vitamin D and other essential nutrients. If the patients are lacking in vitamin D, this can beeasily corrected with vitamin D supplementation.”

As referenced in the Journal of American Cardiology Volume 58, a major study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, run by Harvard medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA in order assess vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids among 20,000 men and women. This study will show the impact of vitamin D and omen-3 fatty acids on heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

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