Article

Effects of vitamin D supplementation on blood pressure, glucocorticoids and cardiovascular risk markers in healthy subjects

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Abstract

Background: Recently, vitamin D has received an enormous attention, primarily at the public health level due to its numerous biological effects. It has been suggested that vitamin D deficiency may adversely affect blood pressure and the cardiovascular system. The aim of this project was to determine the possible effects and association between vitamin D intake, blood pressure, glucocorticoids and CVD risk factors. Methods: Two pilot studies have been carried out; one using short-duration repeated measure (n=20) and the second was a randomised parallel controlled design (n=38). Healthy volunteers from Queen Margaret University were recruited. Each participant was asked to consume 20 μg (800 IU/day) of vitamin D3 supplement per day for 14 days (1st study), and vitamin D or placebo for 28 days (2nd study). Three readings of systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and pulse wave velocity (PWV) were recorded at baseline and at the end of the intervention. Blood (glucose and lipids), saliva and 24h urine (glucocorticoids) samples were obtained. Diet dairies and lifestyle questionnaires were also monitored through out the study. Results: Vitamin D intake increased significantly in both studies (P<0.001) and thus indicating compliance. Mean PWV showed a significant decrease of 0.74 m/s (P=0.017), with a negative correlation with vitamin D intake (r=−0.43). There was also a significant decrease in mean SBP (115.3±13.1–110.9±10.8, P=0.035) and DBP (73.6±10.6–69.8±9.1, P=0.04). There was no significant change in BMI between baseline and final measurements (P=0.527). No significant differences were found between the groups in total, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose except HDL increased following 4 weeks of D intake; from 0.92±0.12–1.24±0.35 mmole/l (P=0.025). There was no effect on salivary cortisol but cortisone increased (0900 h: 7.33±2.6–9.98±5.3 nM, P=0.04). Urinary free cortisol/cortisone ratio was reduced (1.91±0.75–1.22±0.53, P=0.015). Conclusion: The results suggest that moderate intake of vitamin D can influence salivary and urinary glucocorticoids, attenuate BP, improve cardiovascular markers and might be beneficial to prevent contemporary diseases. Further studies to elucidate the effects of the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, particularly in relation to CVD risk factors would be justified.

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... Such a study would be justified in the view of previously reported findings showing that longer supplementation with vitamin D is necessary to raise the level of 25-OH D 3 [49] depending on the extent of deficiency as well as the dose and chemical formula of vitamin D given. It may take up to 3 m to raise the blood concentration of 25-OH D to a satisfactory level [50]. Knowing the importance of glucocorticoids in cardiovascular health, further studies should also analyze the effect of vitamin D on the cortisol/cortisone ratio that can assess the activity of the enzyme 11 Beta Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11B-HSD) [50,51]. ...
... It may take up to 3 m to raise the blood concentration of 25-OH D to a satisfactory level [50]. Knowing the importance of glucocorticoids in cardiovascular health, further studies should also analyze the effect of vitamin D on the cortisol/cortisone ratio that can assess the activity of the enzyme 11 Beta Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11B-HSD) [50,51]. Two isozymes of 11B-HSD exist that catalyze the interconversion of cortisone (inactive) and cortisol (active), thus always controlling their activity. ...
Conference Paper
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Background: Despite suggested epidemiological findings and plausible mechanisms, data linking vitamin D supplementation with improvement in cardiovascular risk is limited. Also, little is known about the effect of vitamin D on CVD health of young healthy people. Objectives: To investigate effect of short-term supplementation with vitamin D3, considered to possess wide range of functions, on blood pressure (BP), Arterial compliance, body mass index (BMI) and salivary stress hormones levels in young healthy adults. Methods: Healthy, normotensive participants (n=20) were asked to consume 20µg/day of vitamin D3 for two weeks, and other volunteers received a placebo. BP, PWV, BMI and salivary cortisol level were assessed at baseline and after 2 weeks' time. Vitamin D and total energy intakes were also evaluated. Results: There was a significant decrease in mean systolic BP by 5.3 ±6.46 mmHg (p=0.035), diastolic BP by 3.4±4.46 mmHg (p=0.002) and pulse wave velocity by 0.475±0.31m/s (p=0.007) with a negative correlation with vitamin D intake (r=−0.43). There was no significant effect on salivary cortisol (p=0.554), but salivary and urine cortisol/cortisone ratio was reduced from 0.952±0.54 to 0.784±0.68, p=0.028, and 1.71±0.75 to 1.22±0.53, p=0.015 respectively. Conclusions: Vitamin D3 intake decreases both diastolic and systolic BP and improves arterial compliance with reduction of urine and salivary cortisol/cortisone ratios indicating an inhibition of 11βHSD type 1 enzyme activity. The results suggest that vitamin D3 could have the potential to reduce the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases in young healthy adults and therefore support body functions in the event of Covid-19 infection. Further research is warranted to test the reproducibility of data.
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