Med Page Today (8/25, Walsh) recently reported that a person’s vitamin D status can predict
their clinical outcome in a trial of patients with heart failure. The study being presented at the
European Society of Cardiology found that lower levels of vitamin D were associated with an
increased risk of mortality in patients with congestive heart failure.

Dr. Reisman, Director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center, describes how vitamin D
deficiency is highly prevalent in the United States and a growing body of evidence suggests that
diminished levels of vitamin D may adversely affect the cardiovascular system. In an article
published in Circulation in 2008, the authors found that in a community based study vitamin D
deficiency was associated with increased cardiovascular risk. They found this higher risk was
in particular evident in individuals with hypertension. In other studies, lower vitamin D levels
have been observed in individuals with heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, and other forms of
cardiovascular disease.

In another study presented at the American College of Cardiology in March 2010, in patients
whose blood test revealed low vitamin D levels, those who are able to raise their blood levels
were 33% less likely to have a heart attack, 20% less likely to develop heart failure, and 30%
less likely to die over an average follow up period of one year. Individuals can increase their
vitamin D levels by taking vitamin supplements and carefully and briefly exposing their skin to
the sun’s vitamin D producing ultraviolet light. Dr. Steven Reisman, a Manhattan Cardiologist
recommends that people should refrain from taking supplements on their own. This should
always be done under a doctor’s supervision after a blood test evaluating the vitamin D blood
level.