Effects of Vitamin D and Calcium Supplementation on Heart Rate and Blood Pressure in Community-Dwelling Older Individuals

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Abstract

Objectives: Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hypertension and ­cardiovascular events in observational studies. It is unclear whether vitamin D and/or calcium supplementation can reduce blood pressure, and if so, by how much.

Methods: This prospective study was undertaken to test the influence of latitude, seasonal variations, possible threshold effects, and duration of vitamin D efficacy after cessation of therapy. Two hundred and forty-two healthy male and female subjects with a mean age of 77 ± 4 years and a 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum level below 75 nmol/l were recruited in Bad Pyrmont and Graz and were randomly assigned to two treatment groups: one group receiving 1,000 mg calcium per day (Ca) and the other group 1,000 mg calcium and 800 IU vitamin D (Ca + D) over 12 months. Systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and heart rate (HR) were measured under standardized conditions every 4 months. Statistical evaluation was carried out using the statistics software of IDV, Gauting (Test + Estimation, version 5.2, “CRO” Dr. Heinz and Partner, Vienna, Austria).

Results: We performed an intention-to-treat analysis and found the following results:

  • In the (Ca + D) group, 25-hydroxyvitamin D increased significantly (p < 0.01) from 57 ± 20 nmol/l at baseline (BL) to 84 ± 18 nmol/l at month 12 (M12), whereas in the (Ca) group, there was no change (54 ± 19 versus 55 ± 18 nmol/l).

  • In the (Ca + D) group, SBP decreased significantly (p < 0.01) from 134 ± 17 mmHg at BL to 124 ± 14 mmHg at M12, whereas in the (Ca) group, there was no change (137 ± 17 versus 133 ± 16 mmHg).

  • In the (Ca + D) group, DBP decreased significantly (p < 0.01) from 76 ± 7 mmHg at BL to 72 ± 7 mmHg at M12, whereas in the (Ca) group, there was no change (79 ± 8 versus 78 ± 9 mmHg).

  • In the (Ca + D) group, HR decreased significantly (p < 0.01) from 74 ± 4 beats per minute at BL to 70 ± 4 beats per minute at M12, whereas in the (Ca) group, there was no change (74 ± 4 versus 75 ± 4 beats per minute).

  • Conclusion: Despite a relatively high inclusion criterion for vitamin D (75 nmol/l) and independent of latitude, we observed a significant reduction of blood pressure and heart rate after supplementation with vitamin D and calcium. This effect of nutritional supplements may be comparable to the efficiency of antihypertensive drugs.