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Vitamin D vs Heart Attacks: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Posted May 08 2013 3:00am
Currently, vitamin D is enjoying its 15 minutes of fame in the limelight.  Its deficiency is being linked to just about any imaginable condition.  Unfortunately, we only have repeated proof or evidence to support its use in making bones stronger.  Severe prolonged vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets which is then cured by consuming vitamin D.  But as for its links to dementia , diabetes , heart disease , stroke , etc, the associations are tenuous at best, falling far short of the randomized controlled trial that proves cause & effect.

Therefore, it shouldn't come as a surprise in a retrospective study published in this month's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism , that a U shaped curve demonstrated an increase risk for acute coronary syndrome (heart attack) & cardiac mortality in those w/25OH vitamin D less than 20ng/dL.  Interestingly, the sweet spot for 25OH vitamin D was just 20-32ng/dL, with any level about 32ng/dL also being associated w/ACS & cardiac mortality.  Of course, the editorialists had a field day picking apart the study .

Bottom line: make time to read the paper especially its U-shaped curve as well as its accompanying editorial (which views the same curve as being more J-shaped in nature) before making any decisions.  Leave your mind open to new (interpretation of) data.  And avoid listening to those 30 second sound bites that poorly summarize complicated studies.

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