Vitamin D and cardiovascular disease risk: emerging evidence

Curr Opin Cardiol. 2010 Sep;25(5):513-7. doi: 10.1097/HCO.0b013e32833cd491.


Purpose of review: Vitamin D deficiency is common throughout the world, with a particularly high prevalence in northern latitudes and colder climates. Although the best known sequelae of vitamin D deficiency involve the musculoskeletal system, a growing body of evidence suggests that vitamin D status may influence cardiovascular health as well. This review focuses on recent studies linking vitamin D and cardiovascular disease risk, emphasizing the potential relevance to primary prevention.

Recent findings: There is strong experimental evidence that vitamin D status may influence cardiovascular structure and function. The number of clinical studies has steadily grown in recent years, with the largest number comprising observational studies showing associations between low vitamin D status, the presence of various cardiovascular risk factors, and adverse cardiovascular outcomes. A few small, randomized, controlled studies have been published, but these have been largely inconclusive.

Summary: Despite substantial clinical evidence linking vitamin D deficiency with increased cardiovascular risk, it remains to be established whether this represents a causal association. Further study is needed with prospective, randomized controlled trials before vitamin D supplementation can be routinely recommended for the primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology