July 2014

Vitamin D Might Protect Against Heart Failure

New research suggests that vitamin D supplementation in older people might protect against heart failure, but not heart attack or stroke.

The major role of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which forms and maintains strong bones. It is used alone or together with calcium to improve bone health and decrease fractures. Vitamin D may also protect against osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cancer, and other diseases.

In a new study, researchers analyzed data from the Randomised Evaluation of Calcium Or vitamin D (RECORD) study, in which 5,292 participants were randomly assigned to receive 800 IU of vitamin D3, 1000 mg of calcium, vitamin D plus calcium, or placebo, daily, to assess their potential effects on heart disease-related events. The researchers also conducted two additional data analyses.

Data on heart disease-related events was collected throughout the RECORD study and for 3 additional years after treatment ended. The researchers found that the people receiving vitamin D alone or vitamin D plus calcium had a 25% reduced risk of heart failure compared to the other groups. However, supplementation did not benefit stroke or heart attack risk.

In an additional data analysis, the researchers conducted a comprehensive literature search for well-designed clinical trials evaluating the effects of vitamin D on heart disease-related events. Twenty-one studies were ultimately identified for inclusion. The researchers found that when comparing vitamin D use to no use, taking vitamin D was associated with an 18% reduced risk of heart failure. As with the RECORD study, there was no benefit for stroke or heart attack risk.

The authors concluded that vitamin D supplementation might protect against heart failure, but not heart attack or stroke. Further research is warranted.

For information about vitamin D, please visit Natural Standard’s Food, Herbs & Supplements Database.

For information about integrative therapies for heart disease, please visit Natural Standard’s Comparative Effectiveness Database.


  1. Ford JA, MacLennan GS, Avenell A, et al. Cardiovascular disease and vitamin D supplementation: trial analysis, systematic review, and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul 23
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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