Vitamin D and Heart Health

Healthy Heart|Mar.20, 2019

You've probably heard the praises of vitamin D and its advantages for your skin, energy and bone strength. But did you know the vitamin may be especially beneficial for people with congestive heart failure?

If you have heart failure, you're more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency. Increasing your intake of the vitamin can boost your heart health and improve your quality of life. Read on to learn the facts behind the vitamin and its usefulness in heart failure.

Heart Failure and Vitamin D

If you or a loved one has congestive heart failure, chances are you have enough to worry about without thinking about your body's vitamin levels. Turns out, though, paying attention to your vitamin D levels could increase your heart health.

Research shows that chronic heart failure is often linked to vitamin D deficiency, and very low levels are associated with more negative health outcomes. In fact, low vitamin D is connected to a greater risk of death in those with heart failure, according to the American College of Cardiology.

Signs of vitamin D deficiency can be hard to spot. Some people have no symptoms at all, while others experience aches and pains or feel more tired than usual, according to the Mayo Clinic. A lack of vitamin D can also cause bone pain and weakness, which may lead to challenges with walking and mobility.

If you have congestive heart failure and experience any of these signs, it's a good idea to consult your doctor for more information and possible vitamin D testing.

How Vitamin D Improves Heart Health

Increasing vitamin D intake could prove beneficial for those with congestive heart failure in several ways. A 2016 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that vitamin D supplements taken by people with chronic heart failure were associated with improved cardiac function. The analysis found that after 12 months, people who took vitamin D had better heart function than people who received the placebo.

The conclusion? In addition to other medical measures, vitamin D might be an inexpensive and safe option for improving chronic heart failure. It means you might be able to continue with the exercise you enjoy.

Tips to Get Enough Vitamin D

Diet changes are an easy way to get more of the vitamin. Try eating more foods that naturally have vitamin D, such as fatty fish, cheeses, eggs and beef liver, the U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends. Vitamin D is also plentiful in fortified foods such as cereals, orange juice, soy and milk.

If your vitamin D is particularly low and you have congestive heart failure, your doctor may recommend you take supplements regularly.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

There is some conflicting evidence about whether vitamin D supplements helps people with congestive heart failure in the long run, so always talk to your doctor before switching up your diet or supplements.

The American College of Cardiology explains that a recent study found vitamin D supplements had no impact on the lifespan, rate of hospitalizations or complications between people who took the supplement or placebo. In fact, the study found that the vitamin D supplements almost doubled the study participants' need for mechanical circulatory support implantation. This type of implant is used to increase heart function and improve quality of life.

The findings suggest that people should be careful when taking vitamin D supplements and perhaps avoid high-dose vitamin D supplements for long periods of time.

While it's not the complete fix you need, adding vitamin D to your life could mean more energy and less muscle pain when your body deserves it the most. If you are concerned about the right dosage, ask your doctor for more information about what's best for you.