Does vitamin D reduce the risk of heart disease?

Your heart disease risk could probably be lower with a little more of this nutrient on board: vitamin D.

Older adults who had the highest blood levels of vitamin D enjoyed a 33% lower risk of developing heart disease in a recent study. And supplements are a fine source. You can also look to sunshine and fortified dairy products to get your fill of D.

Vitamin D has long been touted for its benefits to bone health. But more and more research is showing a bigger role in health. In a study, adults who had the highest levels of D had the lowest level of "cardiometabolic disorders" -- the family of conditions that includes heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Exactly how high levels of vitamin D protect against cardiometabolic problems isn't entirely understood. Vitamin D may protect the heart and blood vessels by acting on genes or vitamin D receptors or by regulating calcium levels in the body. Vitamin D also acts as an anti-inflammatory. Whatever the mechanism of action, you likely need more D in your life. Many adults are deficient.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.