Vitamin D, besides helping build strong bones and muscles, may also play a vital role in protecting heart tissue and preventing heart failure after a heart attack, according to a new study conducted on mice.
Heart failure is a life-threatening condition affecting an estimated 23 million people worldwide.
Vitamin D prevents excessive scarring and thickening of heart tissue following a heart attack, which may help reduce the risk of heart failure.
For the study, published in the journal Heart Lung and Circulation, researchers used mouse models to investigate the impact of 1,25D -- a form of Vitamin D that interacts with hormones -- on the cardiac colony-forming unit fibroblasts (cCFU-Fs)cells that form scar tissue after a heart attack.
Heart attacks occur when blood supply to the heart is blocked, leading to tissue damage. This triggers an inflammatory response where the cCFU-Fs replace the damaged tissue with collagen-based scar tissue.
"Our research shows that vitamin D actually blocks the cCFU-Fs from forming scar tissue. By blocking cCFU-Fs, vitamin D may play an important role in lowering the risk of heart failure after a heart attack," Chong said.
"The benefits of Vitamin D are becoming increasingly known, but we still don't fully understand how mechanistically it can help with heart disease management. We wanted to know more about how Vitamin D protects the heart after a heart attack," he added.