Under normal circumstances, the body produces vitamin D3 when the skin is directly exposed to sunlight. However, in older people, this ability gradually diminishes, which leads to vitamin D deficiencies. Patients diagnosed as having heart failure are often simultaneously suffering from a lack of sufficient vitamin D. Researchers from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom performed studies to determine a correlation between the nutrient and heart function. Annapolis senior care professionals share what the researchers discovered.
The scientists performed a five-year study that involved 163 volunteers who were on average 70 years old. Each also demonstrated a vitamin D deficiency. The research involved evaluating the effects of vitamin D supplementation in heart failure patients. The group was particularly interested in the ejection fraction, or the amount of blood that the heart pumps through the chambers with each contraction.
In adults having healthy hearts, the ejection fraction rate is anywhere from 60 to 70 percent. In patients diagnosed with heart failure, this rate reduces dramatically to around 25 percent. When heart failure patients received vitamin D3 supplementation every day, the ejection fraction rate improved by 26 to 34 percent. Patients receiving a daily dose of a placebo showed no cardiac improvement.
The physicians at Leeds advised that not just any vitamin D supplement provides cardiovascular benefits. Many supplements contain vitamin D2. However, the body makes vitamin D3, which is the key to improving a weakened heart.
Physicians from the American College of Cardiology explain that the severity of the vitamin D deficiency also correlates with symptoms involving an inability to exercise, the amount of diuretic medication required and the response to conventional treatment. In addition to improving heart function, vitamin D3 might pose a viable alternative to installing cardioverter defibrillator devices.
According to the USRDA requirements, adults up to 50 years of age need 200 international units of vitamin D3 daily. Adults 51 to 70 years of age need 400 IU daily, and adults aged 70 and above should take 600 IU daily.
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