Vitamin D, otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin, is often associated with several health benefits but findings of a new study suggest that the vitamin does not help in lowering high blood pressure.
In the new study, which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine on March 16, Miles Witham, from the University of Dundee in Scotland, and colleagues looked at the data of 46 clinical trials involving over 4,500 participants and 27 other studies involving nearing 3,100 participants to determine the effects of vitamin D on blood pressure. The researchers did not find any sign that increasing levels of vitamin D had effect on systolic blood pressure or diastolic blood pressure.
The researchers said that their findings do not support the idea of using vitamin D to treat patients suffering from hypertension.
"By combining all of these trials into one analysis, we have been able to show that taking vitamin D supplements doesn't lower your blood pressure - even if you start with low vitamin D levels or a high blood pressure," Witham said. "This is important as blood pressure is one of the things that people had thought vitamin D might be used for and there are some practitioners who already suggest that patients with high blood pressure should take vitamin D."
Experts said that studies such as this are important. Robert Rosenson, from The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City pointed out that there is a false public perception that some vitamin therapies work and this cost unnecessary expenses to the public even without the scientific evidence that could support the health claims.
Based on the results of the study, the researchers said that vitamin D cannot be recommended for controlling high blood pressure and while the vitamin may still have other health benefits such as in helping reduce fractures and falls, results from large clinical trials would be crucial in determining whether the use of the vitamin is safe and worthwhile.
"Vitamin D supplementation is ineffective as an agent for lowering BP and thus should not be used as an antihypertensive agent," the researchers wrote in their study.
The body produces vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. People can also get the nutrient by consuming milk, eggs, yogurt, salmon, tuna, orange juice and cereal. Vitamin D supplements are also the second most taken vitamin in the U.S. next to multivitamins.
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