Daily Vitamin D Intake Can Improve Heart Function

Amy Jacob

Vitamin D has long been touted for its several health benefits.

Vitamin D has long been touted for its several health benefits.

According to Klaus Witte, MD, University of Leeds School of Medicine in the UK, the latest to make it to the list: improved cardiac function for chronic heart failure patients.

Witte and colleagues presented their research data at the American College of Cardiology 65th Annual Scientific Session & Expo in Chicago, IL.

To understand this relationship, the team conducted a study with approximately 160 patients who were being treated for heart failure.

During a one-year period, a total of 80 patients were required to take a vitamin D-3 supplement daily, while the remaining patient group received a placebo.

Following the one-year term, Witte measured any changes in the patients’ heart function, including their ejection fraction using an echocardiogram. Healthy patients usually have an ejection fraction of 60-70%, but heart failure patients often experienced impaired ejection fractions.

However, study findings showed that although heart failure patients in the placebo group didn’t show any improvement in cardiac function, the heart failure patients administered daily vitamin D-3 supplements experienced an increased ejection fraction from 26 to 34%.

What does this mean for patients with heart failure?

According to researchers, preliminary study results show that regular vitamin D-3 supplementation could potentially reduce the patients’ need for an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), a battery-powered device implanted under the skin to monitor heart rhythm.

ICDs are generally expensive and require operations, so any opportunity to avoid an ICD implant can only benefit the patients.

Witte remarked in a news release, “This is a significant breakthrough for patients. It is the first evidence that vitamin D-3 can improve heart function of people with heart muscle weakness — known as heart failure. These findings could make a significant difference to the care of heart failure patients.”