On March 13, 2013 in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension published the outcome of a trial conducted by Boston researchers which uncovered a reduction in blood pressure in association with vitamin D supplementation among African-American men and women, who have a significantly greater risk of hypertension in comparison with other groups.
Two hundred eighty-three participants of an average age of 51 were randomized to receive 1000, 2000 or 4000 international units (IU) vitamin D3 or a placebo for three months during two consecutive winters. Blood pressure and plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were evaluated before and after treatment, and three months after the supplements were discontinued.
Plasma vitamin D levels rose correspondingly with increasing doses of vitamin D. While systolic blood pressure was higher by the end of the treatment periods among those who received the placebo, supplementation with vitamin D was associated with a decline in blood pressure that was greater among those that received higher doses of the vitamin. Among participants who received the highest dose of vitamin D, systolic blood pressure dropped by an average of 4.0 mmHg. Analysis of the data revealed a 0.2 mmHg average reduction in systolic pressure in association with every 1 nanogram per milliliter (ng/mL) increase in plasma vitamin D.
"This study may explain and help treat an important public health disparity," noted lead author John Forman, MD, who is affiliated with Brigham and Women's Hospital's Renal Division and Kidney Clinical Research Institute. "More research is needed, but these data may indicate that vitamin D supplementation lowers blood pressure in African-Americans."
"The gains were modest, but significant," he added. "If further research supports our finding, widespread use of vitamin D supplementation in African-Americans could have significant public health benefits."
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