Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease: Controversy Unresolved

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017 Jul 4;70(1):89-100. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.05.031.


Vitamin D deficiency is typically caused by inadequate cutaneous synthesis secondary to decreased exposure to sunlight. Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D l <20 ng/ml are diagnostic of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D has various cardiovascular pleiotropic effects by activating its nuclear receptor in cardiomyocytes and vascular endothelial cells and by regulating the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, adiposity, energy expenditure, and pancreatic cell activity. In humans, vitamin D deficiency is associated with the following: vascular dysfunction; arterial stiffening; left ventricular hypertrophy; and worsened metrics of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. It is also linked with worse cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, meta-analyses of vitamin D supplementation trials have failed to show clear improvements in blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, or lipid parameters, thus suggesting that the link between vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease may be an epiphenomenon. Ongoing larger randomized trials will clarify whether monitoring and supplementation of vitamin D play roles in cardiovascular protection.

Keywords: blood pressure; calcifediol; cholecalciferol; diabetes mellitus; renin-angiotensin system; vascular risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D