With vitamin D in the health news what seems like every week, it’s important that we fully understand what this essential nutrient is capable of. It increasingly seems to be the most important nutrient for preventing disease. That said, if you are looking to reduce cholesterol right away, vitamin D supplements don’t appear to work.
A new study out of the American Heart Association shows that if you have vitamin D deficiency, taking vitamin D supplements won’t improve cholesterol in the short term.
Over two months, investigators gave about 150 people who were deficient a “megadose” of 50,000 internationals units of vitamin D3 or placebo. It succeeded in correcting the deficiency, certainly, but it did not alter cholesterol levels. It proved that the megadoses did fix up vitamin D deficiency, with levels tripling in those people receiving them.
The important message here is that you can’t bank on taking vitamin D supplements to fix a cholesterol issue. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, so doing what works best is vital.
The researchers suggest that longer-term studies are needed about how high dose vitamin D could impact LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Questions remain about whether receiving vitamin D from the natural source, sunlight, would have made a different effect in this study. And to check on this, the researchers are preparing another study this fall.
It is most important to try to prevent high cholesterol. The following quick tips can be used to both lower cholesterol if it is high and keep it in check if you have okay levels.
— Quitting smoking is essential
— Maintain a healthy weight and actively shed pounds if you are overweight
— Drink alcohol only in moderation
— Keep a diet low in fat and low in salt
— Up your intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
— Exercise as often as possible, preferably at least five days a week for 30 minutes.