Vitamin D supplements may reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, in people over the age of 60, according to a clinical study published today by the BMJ.
The researchers emphasize that the difference in absolute risk was small, but this is the largest study of its kind to date, and further evaluation is needed, especially in people taking statins or other medications for cardiovascular diseases.
The study was conducted from 2014 to 2020, and involved 21,315 Australians aged 60 to 84 who randomly received one capsule of either 60,000 IU of vitamin D (10,662 participants) or a placebo (10,653 participants). The average duration of treatment was 5 years, and more than 80% of participants reported taking at least 80% of the pills.
The incidence of major cardiovascular events was 9% lower in the vitamin D group compared to the placebo group. The heart attack rate was 19% lower and the coronary revascularization rate was 11% lower in the vitamin D group, but there was no difference in stroke rate between the two groups.
The results of the study show that vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular diseases. “This protective effect may be more pronounced in those who took statins or other cardiovascular medications at the beginning of the study,” the scientists add, and suggest that further research is needed to help clarify this issue.