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Vitamin D Findings Point to New Treatment for Heart Failure

Posted Jun 16 2008 6:13pm

Strong bones, a healthy immune system, protection against some types of cancer: Recent studies suggest there’s yet another item for the expanding list of Vitamin D benefits. Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin,” keeps the heart, the body’s long-distance runner, fit for life’s demands.

University of Michigan pharmacologist Robert U. Simpson, Ph.D., thinks it’s apt to call vitamin D “the heart tranquilizer.”

In studies in rats, Simpson and his team report the first concrete evidence that treatment with activated vitamin D can protect against heart failure. Their results appear in the July issue of the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology.

In the study, treatments with activated vitamin D prevented heart muscle cells from growing bigger – the condition, called hypertrophy, in which the heart becomes enlarged and overworked in people with heart failure. The treatments prevented heart muscle cells from the over-stimulation and increased contractions associated with the progression of heart failure.

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