It's a common, everyday supplement -- and it could have tremendous effects on your heart health.
A new study has found that people can greatly improve their heart health with a relatively simple fix.
The study found that a daily dose of vitamin D3 improves heart function in people with chronic heart failure, a “significant breakthrough” for patients, according to a University of Leeds statement.
A total of 160 patients were examined for the study. Each of them were being treated for heart failure using drug treatments and pacemakers. Those who took vitamin D3 supplements every day for a year saw improvement in heart function compared to those who received a placebo.
It represents the first evidence that vitamin D3 can improve heart function in those who have heart muscle weakness.
To come to their conclusion, researchers examined what is known as “ejection fraction,” or the amount of blood pumped out of the heart in a heartbeat. Ejection fraction should be between 60 and 70 percent for healthy people, but those with heart failure saw averages of about 26 percent. Taking vitamin D boosted that number to 34 percent.
“This is a significant breakthrough for patients,” Dr. Klaus Witte, the leader of the study, said in the statement. “It is the first evidence that vitamin D3 can improve heart function of people with heart muscle weakness – known as heart failure. These findings could make a significant difference to the care of heart failure patients.”
The finding “means that for some heart disease patients, taking vitamin D3 regularly may lessen the need for them to be fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a device which detects dangerous irregular heart rhythms and can shock the heart to restore a normal rhythm,” the statement noted.
Witte added: “ICDs are expensive and involve an operation. If we can avoid an ICD implant in just a few patients, then that is a boost to patients and the NHS as a whole.”