Elina Hypponen, M.D., wrote one of the most profound articles showing
the importance of adequate vitamin D in childhood in preventing type
I diabetes. I have extensively written about her article in my book.
Now I am delighted to see that Dr. Hypponen has recently published
another landmark study that looks at vitamin D and heart disease.
Specifically, in this article she was studying how and why people
with deficient vitamin D have over a 200% higher risk of heart attack
compared to those with normal vitamin D levels.
We know that there are vitamin D receptors in many aspects of the
cardiovascular system. This includes the blood vessels on the inside
of the coronary arteries as well as heart muscle cells themselves,
and the inner muscle lining of the coronary arteries.
In this article she specifically looks at some of the underlying
biochemical markers that predispose to heart disease, and their
relationship with vitamin D. In this study she used the information
from the nationwide 1958 British birth group. This consisted of over
6500 now middle-aged people.
Dr. Hypponen looked at the individual's blood levels of five
markers* that predispose to heart disease. Some of these markers
were associated with inflammation which is known to be related to
heart disease. Other of the markers had to do with stickiness of the
blood, which affects the creation of blood clots that can lead to a
In summary the findings showed that current vitamin D status was
associated with three of the five markers that were evaluated. The
conclusion of the article was that this data suggests that vitamin D
status/intake may be important for maintaining the body's ability to
to prevent blood clots that lead to heart attack.
In this seminal study, I believe we are now beginning to understand
the mechanism of action and biochemistry of how this amazing molecule
we call vitamin D produces its benefit in protecting us from heart
If you have people in your family who have heart disease or who have
had a heart attack, do you know if they have had their vitamin D
levels measured? How were their vitamin D levels? Are your loved ones
with heart disease taking vitamin D every day? Let me know your
*The 5 markers that were followed in this study are C-reactive
protein (CRP), fibrinogen, D-dimer, tissue plasminogen activator
(tPA) antigen, and von Willebrand factor (vWF)