Only recently have doctors started to recommend vitamin d supplements to their patients. Generally many family physicians are not in favor of supplementation; however with some recent research on high blood pressure and heart health there is a trend toward supplementing vitamin d in your diet.
So what exactly does vitamin d do to prevent high blood pressure and take care of your heart?
Apparently this vitamin act acts as hormone.
It causes the "smooth" muscles in your body to relax and stay flexible. This is important because both your heart and arteries are made with smooth muscle.
This is different to "skeletal" muscle that makes up the muscles in your arms and legs.
In your arteries the smooth muscle is the middle layer. It controls blood flow by contracting and relaxing. If there is a vitamin d deficiency the artery stays contracted and this leads to high blood pressure.
As you and I age, one of the natural processes in the body is for the arteries to harden. This is a degenerative change. Lack of vitamin d in the diet speeds this process up and leads to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and heart attack.
Now that being said, if you do have high blood pressure, this is something you want to address with your family doctor.
Now family doctors are testing for vitamin d deficiency in your yearly blood tests along with blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol levels. If you are low, DO NOT WORRY, there are several nutritional solutions.
Vitamin d supplementation is one solution. The general recommendations:
-Younger than 50: 5 micrograms / 200IU (International Units)
-50-70 years old: 10 micrograms / 400IU
-More than 70 Years old: 15 micrograms / 600IU
-Salmon 4oz: 400IU
-Milk 1cup: 50-75IU
-Tuna 3oz: 200IU
-Eggs: 20IU each
Also try to get in the sun for at least 10 minutes a day. If you are elderly, overweight (obese) and are limited to sun exposure, you "may" be at risk. It is important to take a good look at the foods you eat and get your vitamin d levels checked.