PMQs: Boris Johnson urged to introduce vitamin D treatment
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A research team from the University of Bergen – one of the top 10 universities in Norway – stated that people with cardiovascular disease receiving adequate amounts of vitamin D can cut mortality risk by 30 percent. “We discovered that the right amount of vitamin D reduces the risk of death substantially,” said Professor Jutta Dierkes. The professor based at the Department of Clinical Medicine at Bergen led the research study.
Professor Dierkes continued to say that “too much or too little” vitamin D increases mortality risk.
For her research, as many as 4,000 patients with cardiovascular disease were documented for over 12 years.
The results demonstrated that a vitamin D blood value of around 42 to 100 nmol/l was “favourable”.
Any vitamin D values higher or lower than this range put a person at greater risk of mortality (i.e. death) from cardiovascular disease.
What’s cardiovascular disease?
The NHS explained cardiovascular disease described various conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels.
Examples of cardiovascular disease include heart disease, strokes, aortic disease and peripheral arterial disease.
Coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease is when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is blocked or reduced.
This can lead to angina (i.e. chest pain), heart attacks, and heart failure.
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Strokes and mini-strokes occur when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, which can cause brain cells to die.
Peripheral arterial disease
This is when there’s a blockage in the arteries to the limbs, usually the legs.
This can cause cramping leg pain, hair loss on the legs and feet, numbness, and persistent ulcers.
The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, which carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
Professor Dierkes’ is unable to put forward a recommended daily vitamin D supplement dosage.
She explained: “The optimal amount of vitamin D supplement varies from one person to another. It depends where you live, and what kind of diet you have.”
For instance, the NHS suggests taking 10mcg vitamin D daily – the same as Norway – whereas America recommends 15mcg daily and Germany advises 20mcg.
“Even if Norwegians receive less sun then the Germans, the Norwegians have more fish in their diet,” she explained.
“Fish and cod liver oil are important sources to vitamin D during the winter, in addition to physical activities outdoors during the summer.”
On the other hand, Professor Dierkes does recommend that people with cardiovascular disease do get their blood vitamin D levels measured.
This can be arranged by your GP who will order a blood test for you.
“It is, however, important to take in account that the levels vary seasonally,” concluded Professor Dierkes.
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