Taking a vitamin D supplement may improve heart function in people with chronic heart failure according to a paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and presented at the American College of Cardiology in Chicago on April 4.
Commenting on the trial, Dr Emma Derbyshire a public health nutritionist for the Health Supplements Information Service (HSIS) noted: “This was a randomised double blind controlled trial in 223 people with chronic heart failure due to secondary left ventricular systolic dysfunction of the heart and also vitamin D deficiency.
“Trial participants were either allocated to one year of high dose vitamin D3 supplementation 4000 IU (100 micrograms daily) or a placebo. Measures made included the change in left ventricular function and the ability to do a test walk.
“Vitamin D supplementation restored normal levels of vitamin D in these people and left ventricular heart function was also better in the vitamin D supplemented group than placebo. There were no changes on the walking test with vitamin D.
“These findings are very encouraging as chronic heart failure is increasing and treatments can be expensive. Many people in the UK have very low levels of vitamin D. In fact average vitamin D intakes in the UK are between 2.3 and 5.1 micrograms daily which is not enough to protect against deficiency.
“A previous modelling exercise found that more than 8 micrograms would be needed daily to ensure a normal vitamin D status in most people. In addition, while the best source of vitamin D is sunlight, the Northerly latitude of the UK means that we lack the right form of sunlight for more than half of the year”.
“As a result and according to the findings of this study, everyone living in the UK should take either a multivitamin or a single vitamin D supplement to help bridge these dietary gaps.”
 Witte, K, Byrom, R, Gierula J et al. Effects of vitamin D on cardiac function in patients with chronic HF: The VINDICATE study. J Am Coll Cardiol 2016: doi:10. 1016/jack.2016.03.508
 Bates et al. (2014) National Diet and Nutrition Survey, rolling programme years 1-4. London: PHE/FSA
 Cashman K et al. (2011) British Journal of Nutrition 106: 1638–1648.
Last modified: May 10, 2016