Do Vitamin D Supplements Lower Blood Pressure
New research has revealed that taking Vitamin D supplements can lower blood pressure and boost fitness levels.
Volunteers were given the vitamin every day for two weeks in order to monitor the effect an increase in vitamin D would have on their exercise abilities. All of the volunteers reported the ability to cycle longer with less effort.
The blood pressure and cortisol – a stress hormone – levels of the volunteers were also taken and compared with another group who had been taking a placebo. Those who had taken the vitamins showed lower levels of each.
Vitamin D is almost entirely gained from the action of sunlight on the skin, but around 10 million people in the UK are believed to have a vitamin D deficiency.
The scientists behind the study plan to further their research by using a larger group of people, and also repeat the experiment with groups of athletes and cyclists.
In the recent experiment, which consisted of 13 participants, volunteers who took the vitamin D supplements were able to cycle 6.5 kilometres in 20 minutes at the end of the two weeks, compared to five kilometres at the start. After this extra 30 percent distance they showed less signs of exertion than those who had taken the placebo pill.
Levels of cortisol were also lower in the urine of those taking the vitamin, which was given at a dose of 50 micrograms each day.
Previous studies into the effect of vitamin D on stress had shown that the vitamin blocks the action of an enzyme that produces cortisol.
Large amounts of cortisol are thought to raise blood pressure by narrowing blood vessels. It is also suspected of stimulating the kidneys to retain water.
The results of the study were presented at the Society for Endocrinology in Edinburgh.
Study lead author Dr Emad Al-Dujaili, also from Queen Margaret University, said: “Vitamin D deficiency is a silent syndrome linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and a higher risk for certain cancers. Our study adds to the body of evidence showing the importance of tackling this widespread problem.”