Supplementing with vitamin D is found to improve vascular health and reduce inflammation in early-stage chronic kidney condition.

Researchers from the George Institute for Global Health in New Delhi, India, and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research linked vitamin D supplementation with the said benefits in early-stage chronic kidney disease.

This kidney disease strikes in about one in 10 individuals worldwide and with patients most likely developing premature cardiovascular disease, said study lead author Vivekanand Jha, executive director of the George Institute for Global Health.

Author Vivek Kumar, nephrologist at the Chandigarh Institute, noted vitamin D deficiency as common among these patients. “Our study shows that simply identifying and correcting this abnormality has the potential to improve the outcomes in these patients," he explained.

In their randomized controlled trial, the research team administered two doses of 300,000 vitamin D units to a patient group eight weeks apart. The patients in the other group received placebo.

Around 70 percent in the vitamin D group enhanced their vascular function and biomarkers for reduced inflammation and immune activation in the body. In contrast, a mere 5 percent of the placebo group showed the same vascular improvement but no change in the immune and inflammatory markers.

Jha reported that their findings were particularly important because both patient groups were already being treated to reduce cardiovascular risk – meaning vitamin D’s benefit was additive.

The researchers, whose findings were presented at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week in San Diego from Nov. 3 to 8, highlighted the affordable cost and wide availability of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is obtained through sun exposure or dietary sources such as oily fish, eggs, and fortified cereals and fat spreads, but supplementation is also widely sought.

The National Health Service of the United Kingdom warned that certain groups are at a greater risk for deficiency in this nutrient, including pregnant and breastfeeding females, those ages 65 and above, and people not getting exposed to much sun.

Current recommended daily intake of vitamin D in the United States is 400 IU for babies, 600 IU for ages 1 to 70, and 800 IU for those older than 70. For preventing osteoporosis and fractures, 400 to 1,000 IU per day for the elderly – the doses going as high up as 2,999 IU – and for fighting flu about 1,200 IU daily are suggested.

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