Reduced blood flow to the heart and its association with Vitamin D deficiency

Dr. Abdul Mansoor

Reduced blood flow to the heart and its association with Vitamin D deficiency

Dr. Abdul Mansoor,

MBBS,MD, DM, (Cardiology) MRCP
Consultant Interventional Cardiologist
MBBS from JSS Medical College Mysore
MD (General Medicine) from MGM Medical College, Indore University Gold Medalist (MD)
DM from Govt Medical College, Trivandrum

Areas of Specialistion:

  1. Coronary Artery Intervention
  2. Heart Failure
  3. Electrophysiology
  4. Preventive Cardiology

One of the major causes of death globally is coronary artery disease. All communities and countries are witnessing a surge in coronary artery disease, and India is even seeing this problem in much younger age group as compared to the rest of the world. In this disease, the blood flow supply to the heart is not sufficiently adequate and therefore sudden death can result from this. What makes things worse in India is that due to limited resources of screening, diagnosing and even managing coronary artery disease is also a huge issue and it is expected that in 15 to 20 years India will have the highest deaths from coronary artery disease.

Poor diet, tobacco, sedentary life style, high lipids, high BP, diabetes and excessive weight all make Indians more prone to manifest symptoms of coronary artery disease and having angina, or sudden heart attack and death. Scientific evidence is now proving that Vitamin D deficiency may play a role in developing coronary artery disease. In India, factors such as cultural conservativeness to skin exposure result in poor absorption of Vitamin D from the skin. Skin pigmentation, and crowded living conditions with limited sun exposure in family homes may also be risk factors for Vitamin D deficiency.


Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that can be consumed in the diet and then be converted into the active form known as Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). The wall of the arteries tends to accumulate fatty plaques and deposits when Vitamin D deficiency occurs. Inflammatory cells and markers are found to be higher in cases of Vitamin D deficiency thereby increasing the risk of heart and artery diseases. Vitamin D is also involved in the regulation of blood pressure, growth and multiplication of heart muscle cells. The smooth muscles in the walls of the arteries are directly affected by Vitamin D levels. This can cause the walls of the arteries to be more stiff then necessary for allowing proper blood flow through them. When Vitamin D deficiency occurs, the heart contractility also increases and the walls of the heart become thicker and stiffer. The proper functioning of the heart is therefore not achieved. Vitamin D deficiency is also responsible for higher risk of diabetes which is another independent risk for coronary artery disease also.

Deficiency of Vitamin D can have many effects on the cardiovascular system. In a study, 637 patients scheduled for coronary catheterization were studied. Vitamin D deficiency was observed in 95.1% of them. Women were found to have significantly lower levels of Vitamin D as compared to men. Blood tests of all women, and men in the age group of 70-80 years showed the worse their Vitamin D deficiency was, the more narrowing and reduction in the blood flow was seen in the arteries supplying the heart. Patients with worse deficiency of Vitamin D also had significantly higher levels of total cholesterol, LDL-Cholesterol and trigylcerides in the blood. Patients with milder deficiencies of Vitamin D had fewer problems in the arteries supplying the heart and in the blood.

It can be summarized that it may be a good idea to ensure that Vitamin D deficiency does not occur in your body, by taking Vitamin D3 supplements as they are very safe and cheap and clearly outweigh the risk: benefit ratio. When supplementing the diet with Vitamin D it is best to take Vitamin D3 as it’s the most natural form. It is also less toxic, stable and more potent as the preferred form of Vitamin D.


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