You've probably heard of the benefits that vitamin D offers for your skin, energy and bone strength. But did you know that it might also be beneficial for people with congestive heart failure?
If you have heart failure, you're more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency. Increasing your intake of the vitamin can boost your heart health and improve your quality of life.
Heart Failure and Vitamin D
If you or a loved one has congestive heart failure, chances are you have enough to worry about without thinking about your body's vitamin levels. But paying extra attention to your vitamin D levels could improve your heart health.
The Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, the official journal of the Academy of Family Physicians in India, reports that patients with low levels of vitamin D had a 60% higher risk of heart disease. And the Journal of Clinical Hypertension asserts that congestive heart failure can be linked to vitamin D deficiency.
Signs of vitamin D deficiency can be hard to spot. Some people have no symptoms at all; others experience aches and pains or feel more tired than usual, according to the Mayo Clinic. A lack of vitamin D can also cause bone pain and weakness, which can lead to mobility problems.
If you have congestive heart failure and experience any signs of vitamin D deficiency, consult your doctor for more information and possible vitamin D testing.
How vitamin D improves heart health
Increasing vitamin D intake could help people with congestive heart failure in several ways. A 2016 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that vitamin D supplements taken by people with chronic heart failure were associated with improved cardiac function. The analysis found that after 12 months, people who took vitamin D had better heart function than people who received the placebo.
When used strictly as a supplement to other medical measures, vitamin D could be an inexpensive and safe option for helping to improve chronic heart failure. Vitamin D is good for the bones, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, so a steady intake of the vitamin means you could be able to continue with the exercise you enjoy. The Journal of the Assocation of Physicians of India notes that in heart failure patients, lower levels of vitamin D are observed due to a sedentary lifestyle and decreased absorption of the vitamin from the intestines. Obesity further increases the deficiency.
How much is too much?
Making dietary changes is an easy way to get more vitamin D. Try eating more foods that naturally have vitamin D, such as fatty fish, cheese and eggs. Vitamin D is also plentiful in fortified foods such as cereals, soy, fruit juice, rice, rice flour, chapati flour and milk and milk products. If your vitamin D is particularly low and you have congestive heart failure, your doctor may recommend that you take regular supplements.
While it's not the complete fix you need, adding vitamin D to your life could mean more energy and less muscle pain when your body needs it the most. If you are concerned about the right dosage, ask your doctor for more information about what's best for you.
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