A new study conducted by researchers at the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, in Northern India, suggests there is a link between chronic stable angina and individuals who are vitamin D deficient. In particular, lower levels of vitamin D might potentially be a cardiovascular risk factor.
Vitamin D is important in cardiac function as research shows it could decrease inflammation in cases of heart disease.
More about the study’s location: Since there is an increased rate of vitamin D deficiency in Northern India—and limited resources in that area—preventative action is crucial to help lower the risk of cardiovascular complications. So researchers set out to examine the relationship between vitamin D and coronary artery disease.
The study included 100 individuals with chronic stable angina and 100 controls. It excluded people who had a recent history of cancer, individuals who took vitamin D and/or calcium supplements and people with parathyroid disease.
Researchers then gathered bloodwork and a comprehensive medical history on each patient. A treadmill test was required for patients suspected to have chronic stable angina. A positive treadmill test indicated an abnormal heart rate while exercising. For patients with chronic stable angina and a positive treadmill test, dye was injected into their coronary arteries to look for blockages.
Study researchers discovered that 75% of patients with chronic stable angina were deficient in vitamin D, compared to 10% of healthy control subjects. Disease severity wasn’t considerably related to vitamin D status; however, increased age was linked with lower vitamin D levels.
Findings support previous research that looked at the relationship between coronary angiography and vitamin D status—revealing that approximately 80% of subjects with abnormal coronary angiography were deficient in vitamin D (while less than 10% were within a healthy range).
A few factors to keep in mind:
- Study causation can’t be proven due to its observational design.
- The limited number of vitamin D deficient subjects means that the study may have been subject to selection bias.
- Clinical trials should be conducted to figure out if higher levels of vitamin D could prevent chronic stable angina.
Coronary artery disease is a common form of heart disease, and is the root cause for approximately one in five deaths in developing countries.
Chronic stable angina is the result of poor blood flow to the heart. It can cause chess pain—especially when an individual exercises or when he/she is stressed—and is a key indicator of coronary artery disease.
The study is published in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences.
Raina, A. H., et al., “Association of low levels of vitamin D with chronic stable angina: A prospective case-control study,” The North American Journal of Medical Sciences, 2016; doi: 10.4103/1947-2714.179130.
Sturges, M., et al., “Vitamin D status linked to chronic stable angina,” The Vitamin D Council Blog & Newsletter, May 18, 2016; http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/blog/vitamin-d-status-linked-to-chronic-stable-angina/.