Dr. Annabelle Volgman has a strong background in the human heart. And recently she's been interested in vitamin D, and what a deficiency can do. Deficiency in vitamin D can cause high blood pressure, and greater risk of heart attack, especially in women who take calcium supplements without added vitamin D.
And for reasons that aren't clear, some women who were having chest pains no longer were having them once they started supplementing vitamin D.
(Transcribed from video interview)
That’s a great question. It’s only recently that we have appreciated the importance of vitamin D deficiency. Just this past January of 2008, there was a study, the Framingham Offspring Study, that showed that if a patient or a person has vitamin D deficiency, level less than 50 nanograms/ml and they are hypertensive, they have high blood pressure, their risk is more than twice the risk of somebody who has high blood pressure but a good vitamin D level.
So it markedly increases a patient’s risk of having a heart attack. It’s even more important because women are being given calcium by their primary care physician and by their gynecologist to prevent bone loss from osteoporosis. And there was a study in Finland that showed that women who are being given calcium without vitamin D had twice the risk of heart attacks than women who are not being given calcium.
So, all these women who are being given calcium without vitamin D may be at risk for a heart attack just by the fact that they are being given calcium. Now the WHI study also studied these women, but they were given calcium with vitamin D, and they didn’t see an increase in heart attacks. So the conclusion may be that if you are getting calcium, you need to be given vitamin D as well.
In one of the most interesting things that I have been finding out in my Heart Center for Women is that there are many women who have chest pains that we can’t understand what it’s being caused by, and they are the ones who are vitamin D deficient, and I give them the vitamin D and their chest pains go away. So this is one of the best things that I can help women with. It is like a miracle for them.