Vitamin D, Calcium, and Cardiovascular Disease: A“D”vantageous or “D”etrimental? An Era of Uncertainty

  • Kathleen Chin
  • Lawrence J. Appel
  • Erin D. MichosEmail author
Coronary Heart Disease (S. Virani and S. Naderi, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Coronary Heart Disease


While the function of vitamin D in regulating calcium homeostasis is well established, there has been growing interest in its role in the prevention of numerous chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD). There is mounting epidemiological evidence suggesting that vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased CVD risk. However, the results of previous vitamin D supplementation trials have yielded mixed results in regards to cardiovascular health, and the results of ongoing large-scale randomized controlled trials are not yet available. Further complicating the issue, calcium supplementation, which is often prescribed concurrently with vitamin D, has been associated with increased CVD risk in some (but not all) studies. Thus, it is currently unclear whether vitamin D supplements, particularly for those that are deficient, can help prevent the development of CVD. In addition, there has not been uniform consensus regarding the threshold of 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels that constitutes “sufficiency” across organizational guidelines. This review will provide an update on the most recent evidence regarding the effects of vitamin D and calcium supplements on CVD clinical outcomes, summarize ongoing vitamin D trials, and discuss the current but remarkably disparate recommendations regarding vitamin D deficiency screening and supplementation.


Vitamin D Calcium Supplementation Cardiovascular disease Prevention 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Kathleen Chin and Lawrence J. Appel declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Erin D. Michos reports receiving an honorarium from Siemens Diagnostics (modest) for work unrelated to this topic.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Erin Michos is supported by a grant R01NS072243 from NIH/NINDS and the Blumenthal Scholars Award in Preventive Cardiology. Kathleen Chin was funded by the Hopkins Scholars Program.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen Chin
    • 1
  • Lawrence J. Appel
    • 2
    • 3
  • Erin D. Michos
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, Division of CardiologyJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical ResearchJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

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