The Vitamin D DilemmaIN HEART HEALTH
You may have heard about the dangers of vitamin D deficiency, but new research shows that too much of this essential nutrient may be detrimental to your heart. Balancing vitamin D intake may be best for your heart and overall health.
According to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, higher than normal levels of vitamin D can cause an unhealthy heart rhythm, also known as atrial fibrillation. During the study, 132,000 patients at a Utah medical center were examined. Researchers found that individuals with newly developed atrial fibrillation had higher levels of vitamin D.
According to T. Jared Bunch, M.D., Director of Electrophysiology Research at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, UT, everyone absorbs vitamin supplements at different rates. Blood tests are necessary to determine if an individual is in a safe range for vitamin D. People examined in the study tested in vitamin D ranges above 100 nanograms per deciliter of blood—up to 59 deciliters more than the recommended level.
In colder areas of the country, people dress in more layers, covering themselves from the cold and subsequently blocking their skin from absorbing vitamin D from sunlight. Because these people can become vitamin D deficient, they sometimes take over-the-counter supplements, which can overload the body with too much of the nutrient—a danger to the heart.
A Safe Dose
You can keep your vitamin D intake safe and balanced by eating a healthy diet and taking advantage of sunny weather. Just 10 minutes outside without sun screen allows your skin to absorb a healthy amount of vitamin D. Normal vitamin D levels can help reduce your risk of developing breast, colorectal and prostate cancers, osteoporosis, and depression.
Feel the Rhythm
Inside the body, electrical signals cause the heart to pump blood at a normal rate. If these signals are sent too close together, too far apart or at an abnormal rhythm, atrial fibrillation occurs. Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of heart rhythm condition and can increase a person’s risk of stroke and heart failure.
Living With Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation may not be noticeable at first, but a quicker heart rate can be the most telling symptom. For people with atrial fibrillation, heart rates may increase to up to 175 beats per minute—about 75 beats more than the normal range. Other symptoms include:
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Sources: msnbc.com, health.usnews.com, nhlbi.nih.gov, stopafib.org, naturalnews.com