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Vitamin D May Cut Cardiovascular Disease Risk

But extra calcium seems to have little impact on cardiovascular health

WEDNESDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin D supplementation at moderate to high doses may decrease cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, but calcium supplements appear to have little impact on cardiovascular health, according to a review published in the March 2 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Lu Wang, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues reviewed 17 studies and trials on supplementation with vitamin D, calcium, or both to assess their impact on risk of cardiovascular events.

The researchers found that one population-based study and five studies of dialysis patients demonstrated consistent reductions in CVD mortality among adults taking vitamin D supplements, while four studies of healthy adults found no difference in incidence of CVD between people taking calcium supplements and people not taking them. Data from eight trials showed that, at doses of about 1,000 IU/day, vitamin D supplementation produced a reduction in CVD risk (pooled relative risk, 0.9), but this was not statistically significant, the investigators note.

"Vitamin D and calcium are independently and interactively involved in many pathophysiologic processes related to the development of CVD," the authors write. "Future studies of vitamin D and calcium supplement use among initially healthy persons, particularly large-scale, randomized trials with adequate doses and with CVD ascertained as the primary end point, are urgently needed to elucidate the potential role of vitamin D and calcium supplementation in the prevention of CVD."

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