Vitamin D deficiency can cause heart failure

As many readers know, there is an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. It is of worldwide proportions, but is visible mainly in “developed” countries in the Western world. The official stance of mainstream medicine is that while vitamin D deficiency is undesirable, it does not really have much clinical relevance except for older people at risk for osteoporosis. This negligent attitude likely stems from the word “vitamin” in the name of the chemical, and most doctors are trained to ignore vitamin deficiencies as clinically relevant. Even vitamin insufficiencies are sometimes treated as little more than a nuisance. In fact, most doctors do not even know that “vitamin” D is in fact a steroid (a secosteroid, to be precise) and can interact with virtually all other steroid receptors, as I posted in the thread about our product Calcirol. As such, a deficiency in this steroid is likely to have widespread effects on health, as any other steroid imbalance would. Specifically, the role of this steroid in not only bone but also muscle health has been elucidated decades ago (at least in research circles) and multiple in vivo studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency leads to a number of myopathies, even in young organisms. One of the proposed mechanisms is insulin resistance and reduced glucose metabolism in the presence of vitamin D deficiency. Conversely, as another study I posted demonstrated, supplementing with vitamin D (especially in combination with vitamin K) can have potent, doping-like performance enhancing effects even for professional athletes due to the enhanced muscle function as a result of increased osteocalcin synthesis (which depends mostly on vitamin D &K).

Now, the study below corroborates the crucial role of vitamin D in muscle health and demonstrated that chronic deficiency can lead to heart failure, as the heart is perhaps the muscle most sensitive to vitamin D levels. In this study, deficiency of vitamin D led to increased inflammatory burden as demonstrated by elevated TNF-a, NF-kB, IL-6, etc. Those inflammatory biomarkers also happen to correlate perfectly with insulin resistance and in fact the study induced such a state in the rodents through a high-fat diet. And it was precisely the deranged glucose metabolism in insulin resistant hearts that led to heart failure. So, the study demonstrated a direct and crucial role of vitamin D in metabolic health, possibly related to increased inflammatory burden in the presence of vitamin D deficiency. Considering the epidemic of heart failure in the last few decades, especially in younger people, I would suspect that the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency is largely to blame. However, until mainstream medicine recognizes the vital role of this “vitamin” and attitudes to its widespread clinical deficiency change, I don’t think that link will be recognized, let alone addressed in clinical practice.

“…The new study has shown that vitamin D deficiency alone can lead to heart failure, possibly through insulin resistance. It has found that cardiac insulin leads to the functional deterioration of heart in animals with low vitamin D levels. The utilization of glucose and fatty acids – key fuels for energy generation in the heart – is adversely affected due to insulin resistance in heart cells. Insulin plays a critical role in the regulation of cellular metabolism in many tissues in the body.

“…At the end of 20 weeks, it was found that the hearts of vitamin D deficient animals were failing. They showed molecular and functional changes similar to the hearts of rats in the high-fat high fructose diet group. β€œThe cardiac dysfunction caused by vitamin D deficiency alone was very similar to that by the other risk factor – high-calorie diet – sometimes even to a greater extent in some parameters. For example, cardiac inflammation was higher in vitamin D deficiency diet than high-calorie diet,” researchers have observed in the study.”

“…Researchers found greater expression of genes involved in the enlargement of cardiac muscles. These findings were confirmed when scientists measured heart wall thicknesses, chamber internal diameters and contracting capacity of the heart. Left ventricular posterior wall thickness was found to be increased in rats with vitamin D deficiency. This happens when cardiac workload increases and turns pathological if no remedial measures are taken, finally progressing to heart failure. In such a condition, the pumping action of the heart can no longer meet the metabolic demands of the body.”

β€œWe have shown the link between vitamin D deficiency and cardiac dysfunction and how it may lead to heart failure. Vitamin D and its signaling modulate myocardial insulin sensitivity, the insufficiency of which induces impaired glucose utilization, remodeling response, and heart failure,” explained Dr Sanjay Kumar Banerjee, senior scientist at the Faridabad-based Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), who led the research team, while speaking to India Science Wire.”