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.