Mr. JB is a 51 yr prominent cardiovascular surgeon and father of five in northern Wisconsin. He entered medical school at 20 years old and became one the youngest fellow cardiovascular surgeons in his program. He envisioned a life of many years serving his patients and improving their health and in many cases saving their lives. Mr. JB never thought that at his age he would have to start saving his own life. For the past 25 years, he has worked a fulltime shift of 80 to 100 hours a week taking night calls almost every day. At the end of a work week, he felt fatigued, stressed and irritable. Over the last 5 years he was experiencing some intermittent pressure-like chest pain. On several occasions, he had been a patient at the emergency room. He knew he lead a fairly busy and stressful work life and it was adversely affecting his heart health. He had many sleeping difficulties averaging only four hours at most of sleep at any given night. He expressed concern for his weight 295 pounds with a previously measured body fat of 45.9%. He knew he had to lose weight and he knew it could possibly save his life and prevent a heart attack.
In addition to being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, Mr. JB had very low levels of Vitamin D.
Did you know that the risk of deaths from heart attacks is twice higher for people with low vitamin D?
In a recent Harvard conducted study, Giovannucci and colleagues reviewed the medical records and blood samples of 454 men aged between 40 and 75 with a history of non-fatal heart attack or fatal heart disease. The data from this group of men were compared with data from 900 healthy 'control' men with no history of heart disease. The participants were given questionnaires to provide more information on their diet and lifestyle factors.
The Harvard researchers calculated that men with vitamin D deficiency, or 25(OH)D levels of 15 ng/mL or lower were 142 per cent more likely to suffer from a heart attack than men with sufficient levels of the vitamin (25(OH)D levels of at least 30ng/mL).
When the researchers adjusted these results to account for factors that may skew the results, such as omega-3 intake, family history of heart attack, high blood pressure or diabetes, BMI, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and cholesterol levels, a significant and important correlation was still noted.
Men with vitamin D deficiency were 109 per cent more at risk of heart attack, compared to men with sufficient levels of the vitamin.
"Even men with intermediate 25(OH)D levels were at elevated risk relative to those with sufficient 25(OH)D levels," wrote Giovannucci
Some claim that as much as 60 percent of northern populations may be Vitamin D deficient because of the low dietary amounts, and lack of sunshine in northern climates.
In adults, vitamin D deficiency may precipitate or exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases.
Reduce your health risks now. Learn more about personalized physician supervised preventative programs and the science behind functional medicine at Milwaukee Center for Longevity Medicine.
Alexandra Solano, MD