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Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Myocardial Infarction Risk

Even intermediate levels of the vitamin raise the odds of a heart attack in men

WEDNESDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Men with low levels of plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D are more likely to have a myocardial infarction, even when other coronary artery disease risk factors are taken into account, according to the results of a study published in the June 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Edward Giovannucci, M.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study of 18,225 men aged 40 to 75 who were free of diagnosed cardiovascular disease at the time of blood collection and who were followed up for 10 years.

During the follow-up period, 454 men developed non-fatal myocardial infarction or fatal coronary heart disease, the researchers report. Men with plasma levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D at or below 15 ng/mL were at 2.42 times the risk of myocardial infarction compared to 900 controls with sufficient levels, (i.e., 30 ng/mL or more). After adjusting for other factors associated with cardiovascular disease, low vitamin D levels still doubled the risk of myocardial infarction, the report indicates.

"If this association is causal, which remains to be established, the amount of vitamin D required for optimal benefit may be much higher than would be provided by current recommendations (200-600 IU/d), especially in those with minimal sun exposure," the authors write.

One co-author is a consultant for DiaSorin Corp.

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