Low levels of vitamin D may be a cause of high blood pressure, according to a new study published on June 25, 2014 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
Vitamin D is nicknamed the sunshine vitamin because the body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. People also get vitamin D through foods such as eggs, milk, yogurt, tuna, salmon, cereal and orange juice.
In the new study, researchers analyzed genetic data from more than 146,500 people of European descent in Europe and North America. For each 10 percent increase in vitamin D levels, there was an 8 percent decrease in the risk of developing high blood pressure (or “hypertension”).
“In view of the costs and side effects associated with antihypertensive drugs, the potential to prevent or reduce blood pressure and therefore the risk of hypertension with vitamin D is very attractive,” study leader Elina Hypponen, a professor from the University of South Australia, said in a journal news release.
But, while the study findings hint at a causal relationship, according to the study authors, it doesn’t definitively prove the link.
Further research is needed to confirm that low levels of vitamin D can cause high blood pressure and that taking vitamin D supplements can reduce that risk, Hypponen said.
Further studies and clinical trials to prove that vitamin D supplementation can prevent or treat high blood pressure are needed before this approach could be recommended.
SOURCE: The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, news release, June 25, 2014