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Back to Cardiovascular Disease

Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease

The Evidence

A systematic review of the evidence performed in 2009 for the Institute of Medicine by the Tufts Evidence-based Practice Center in preparation for revisions to the Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin D and calcium concluded the following regarding vitamin D and cardiovascular disease:1

  • One randomized controlled trial and four cohort studies have analyzed the association between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and risk of cardiovascular events;
  • The randomized controlled trial, which compared vitamin D3 (100,000 IU every 4 months) and placebo for 5 years in elderly people, found no significant difference in event rates for various cardiovascular outcomes, including total events and cardiovascular deaths;
  • In two of the cohort studies, significant associations were found between progressively lower 25(OH)D concentrations and increased risk of cardiovascular events. The other two cohort studies found no significant associations between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke.

Another systematic review of the evidence examined the burden of disease due to vitamin D deficiency in Canada and how this could change if the mean serum 25(OH)D concentration of Canadians were increased from 67 to 105 nmol/L, a value that would ensure that over half of the population has levels in the optimal range. This review found the following with respect to vitamin D and cardiovascular disease:2

  • Increasing serum 25(OH)D concentration from about 62.5 to 105 nmol/L reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 25% (15–35%);
  • Increasing vitamin D levels from 25 to 75 nmol/L results in a 60% improvement in insulin sensitivity, which could have important implications for the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

Learn more on the subject:


  1. Tufts Evidence-based Practice Center. Vitamin D and Calcium: A Systematic Review of Health Outcomes. Prepared for: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2009.
  2. Grant WB et al. An estimate of the economic burden and premature deaths due to vitamin D deficiency in Canada. Mo Nutr Food Res 2010;54(8):1172–81

Keywords: infarction , vitamin D , cardiovascular disease , stroke , type 2 diabetes

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