Patients with heart failure usually experience inflammation. According to a German clinical trail conducted by Stefanie Schleithoff from the University of Bonn, it was found that high doses of Vitamin D supplements inhibit the pro-inflammatory molecules and appear to boost the anti-inflammatory function. The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The researchers studied the effect of a high-dose vitamin D3 supplement on the heart pumping ability of 123 patients with known chronic heart failure (CHF) for a period of nine months. The participants in one group were given 50 micrograms or 2,000 International Units of vitamin D3 in a form of supplement while a control group took a placebo. Both groups received about 500 milligrams of calcium per day. Researchers also measured the effect of the vitamin D supplement on cytokine levels. Cytokines are powerful pro-inflammatory substances that increase the risk of CHF.
The researchers found that those who received vitamin D supplements had their serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D increased by 26.8 nanograms per millilitre (ng/mL) whereas those in the placebo group had their serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D decreased by 3.6 ng/mL. The 25-hydroxyvitamin D is a storage form of vitamin D in the body. Also the levels of Interleukin 10 (IL-10) was also increased by 43% in the group receiving the vitamin supplements, but showed no change in the placebo group. IL-10 is an anti-inflammatory compound.
When the heart function was also measured in all participants as marked by left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) there was no difference between both the groups. In conclusion the researchers said that a daily supplement of 50 micrograms vitamin D for nine months is able to increase serum concentrations of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 and also helps to prevent an increase in serum concentrations of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha in CHF patients.