Monthly vitamin D pill may help reduce heart attacks in older adults
The researchers hypothesized that vitamin D might help reduce inflammation in blood vessels, thus contributing to heart protection
Research suggests that taking vitamin D supplements later in life can reduce the risk of heart attacks. In the largest trial of its kind, a five-year study involving 21,315 Australians aged 60 to 84 was conducted.
The participants were randomly assigned to either a group that received a monthly tablet containing a high dose of vitamin D or a placebo.
The study aimed to compare the occurrence of deaths or hospital admissions related to heart problems, including heart attacks and strokes.
The results showed that the group receiving vitamin D had a 19 per cent lower rate of heart attacks compared to the placebo group.
However, there was no significant difference in the occurrence of strokes between the two groups, The Times reported.
Published in the British Medical Journal, the study concluded that routine vitamin D supplementation among individuals over the age of 60 could potentially reduce the risk of heart attacks.
Although the researchers noted that the effect of vitamin D on heart health might be modest, they estimated that 172 people would need to take monthly vitamin D supplements to prevent one significant heart problem.
Interestingly, the protective effect of vitamin D appeared to be slightly stronger in individuals who were already taking statins, which are medications used to prevent heart attacks.
The researchers hypothesized that vitamin D might help reduce inflammation in blood vessels, thus contributing to heart protection.
The study also found that a monthly vitamin D tablet improved adherence as patients were less likely to forget to take it, compared to a daily dose.
Professor Rachel Neale, the author of the study from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, highlighted that vitamin D supplementation could potentially reduce the incidence of major cardiovascular events, particularly in individuals taking statins or other cardiovascular drugs.
Additionally, vitamin D is known to support immune responses, maintain healthy bones, and previous studies have suggested its potential role in preventing dementia and aiding the clearance of amyloid in the brain.
Individuals at high risk of vitamin D deficiency are advised to take daily supplements, with the NHS recommending a daily dose of 10 micrograms.