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Nat Rev Nephrol. 2013 Jun;9(6):337-47. doi: 10.1038/nrneph.2013.74. Epub 2013 Apr 23.

The effect of vitamin D status on risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

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Division of Pediatric Nephrology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

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  • Nat Rev Nephrol. 2013 Nov;9(11):626.


Vitamin-D-related pathways are implicated in various endocrine, inflammatory and endothelial functions. An estimated 1 billion people in the world have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency, and undiagnosed vitamin D deficiency is common. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with substantial increases in the incidence of hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, myocardial infarction and stroke, as well as in diseases such as chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes. Low vitamin D levels also upregulate the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, increase inflammation and cause endothelial dysfunction. However, the role of vitamin D deficiency in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality is an emerging and hotly debated topic. Epidemiological studies suggest an association between low vitamin D levels and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but a causal relationship has not been established, and clinical trials and meta-analyses have not demonstrated convincing evidence that vitamin D therapy improves cardiovascular outcomes. Some evidence suggests that vitamin D status is a biomarker of lifestyle, since unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles are associated with vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency and are also risk factors for cardiovascular complications.

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