A group of scientists found that a daily dose of vitamin D could put heart failure patients back on track as the vitamin greatly improves heart function by restoring its lost pumping power by a third.
Globally, about 23 million people are affected by heart failure, which is a condition caused by a poor ability of the heart to pump blood. But researchers found that a daily dose of vitamin D3 can boost the heart’s pumping power in heart failure patients.
A research team at the University of Leeds, in the U.K., believes that the newly found benefit of vitamin D may be tied to the vitamin’s ability to regulate calcium levels. They explained that when the organ contracts calcium enters the heart tissue, while when the organ relaxes calcium leaves the tissue.
But in heart failure, calcium can no longer leave the tissue, which results in many clogs and a poor pumping ability. Researchers think that vitamin D supplementation could help restore that lost function.
The study involved 160 patients with a history of heart failure. Participants were either given a genuine dose of vitamin D or a placebo for a year. Researchers constantly monitored their heart function to see if there were any changes.
After one year, participants that took vitamin D saw the amount of blood pumped by their heart rise by up to 34 percent. No such change was noticed in the control group. Scientists now hope that their findings may lower the need for heart implants in heart failure patients.
Dr Klaus Witte, lead author of the study, noted that the find is a ‘significant breakthrough’ for every patient affected by heart failure. Witte added that it is the first time a team finds a link between vitamin D3 supplementation and improved heart function in heart failure patients. He also explained that heart implants are costly and involve surgery.
Heart failure or heart muscle weakness often occurs in the wake of a heart attack. In such condition, the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body is greatly reduced. The most common risk factors for heart failure are heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, family history of cardiovascular disease, and cardiomyopathy.
As a follow-up, researchers plan to learn more on why exactly vitamin D improves heart function and whether the improvements observed in cardiac function could mean longer lives for people with heart failure.
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