Too much sunshine 'could lead to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes'

Too much sunshine 'could lead to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes'

While the health dangers of having too little of the sunshine vitamin are well known, the first ever study by the University of Copenhagen warned of the connection between high levels of vitamin D and cardiovascular deaths.

Vitamin D is made by the skin in reaction to sunlight or found in oily fish, eggs, fortified cereals and spreads or supplements. It helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body keeping bones and teeth healthy. A deficiency can lead to bone deformities, such as rickets or bone pain, and tenderness as a result of a condition called osteomalacia in adults.

People taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period can cause more calcium to be absorbed than can be excreted, with the excess deposited in and damage the kidneys. Excessive vitamin D can also encourage calcium to be removed from bones, which can soften and weaken them.

The new study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism warned for the first time of the effect on heart health. It found having too much vitamin D in our blood can be bad for our health has never been proven before - and it may have great influence on future intake of nutritional supplements.

Professor of clinical medicine Peter Schwarz said: "We have studied the level of vitamin D in 247,574 Danes, and so far, it constitutes the world's largest basis for this type of study.

"We have also analysed their mortality rate over a seven-year period after taking the initial blood sample, and in that time 16,645 patients had died."

He added: "Furthermore, we have looked at the connection between their deaths and their levels of vitamin D. If your vitamin D level is below 50 or over 100 nanomol per litre, there is an greater connection to deaths.

"We have looked at what caused the death of patients, and when numbers are above 100, it appears that there is an increased risk of dying from a stroke or a coronary.

"In other words, levels of vitamin D should not be too low, but neither should they be too high. Levels should be somewhere in between 50 and 100 nanomol per litre, and our study indicates that 70 is the most preferable level.

"These are very important results, because there is such great focus on eating vitamin D. We should use this information to ask ourselves whether or not we should continue to eat vitamins and nutritional supplements as if they were sweets.

"You shouldn't simply up the dose to feel better. We should only consume such vitamins in close coordination with our GP."

By Agency,

The Telegraph, Friday 13 March 2015

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