Vitamin D, which is often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’, boasts a range of physiological roles. A new study reveals that following a heart attack, it might protect against consequent heart failure.
Few foods contain Vitamin D. Instead, the vast majority is synthesised in our skin following exposure to the sun.
During a study of rickets in children, Vitamin D was initially identified as an important player in bone health. We now know that Vitamin D has an array of duties in the body beyond that of bone health.
For instance, it is thought to impact the workings of muscles and blood vessels. And, even more recently, evidence has been gathering that the vitamin might have a protective effect on heart health.
Specifically, studies have linked low levels of Vitamin D to coronary artery disease and heart failure.
Heart failure is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition, wherein the heart is unable to pump sufficient blood and oxygen to nourish the tissues of the body. In 2009, around 1 in 9 deaths in the United States included heart failure as contributing cause.
And because heart failure is so common, understanding exactly what is involved physiologically is important. Due to the recent evidence that Vitamin D might protect against heart failure, scientists are keen to get a clearer understanding of the relationship.