Your always hearing people talking about vitamins. The term comes from the words vital and amines – vitamins. These are substances that your body needs to live and be healthy. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that your body can make; the other vitamins must be either eaten with foods or taken as a supplement.
Even though vitamin D can be made in the body, worldwide, 42% to 92% of women in menopause have low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, but it is also believed to be important for other things such as muscle strength, healthy breasts and heart.
Now a new study and it’s editorial published in the journal Menopause shows how low vitamin D levels and abnormalities of the vitamin D receptor (the “keyhole” that is unlocked by the vitamin D “key” cause heart disease.
Vitamin D appears able to ward off hardening of the arteries, plaque formation inside the walls of arteries, and several other of the pathways that lead to cardiovascular heart disease.
The article further explains that abnormal receptors for vitamin D are part of the reason some people can eat healthy and still get heart disease.
This study was done in monkeys. They fed the monkeys what could be called monkey junk food for 3 years and also gave them 1000 units of vitamin D every day. Then they removed the ovaries from the monkeys to make them go into menopause.
Two and a half years later they measured the amount of vitamin D in the monkeys blood and the levels of the vitamin D receptor they had in the arteries of their hearts. The monkeys with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood plus the highest levels of vitamin D receptors in the arteries of their hearts had the lowest levels of heart disease.
Here’s what it means for you. If you have low levels of vitamin D, you are at more risk of heart disease and hardening of the arteries. Some people may have these abnormal vitamin D receptors in their bodies and they may be at a higher risk for heart disease even if they have normal vitamin D levels.
But if the findings hold up in humans, a new area to study will be how to change the receptor for the vitamin D to a more normal one. I’m sure we’ll hear more about this in the future.
In the meantime, be sure to have your vitamin D level checked when you go in for your annual exam. The test you want is called 25 OH vitamin D.
For more information and tips on how which tests to understand, how to prepare for your annual exam and 5 tips to jump-start your health today, click here for my free three video series called Health Accelerator.