By: Azuka Onye
photo credit: healthfitness.com
CBS News recently reported that a study conducted by researchers at the Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta, GA has shown that Vitamin D may decrease the risk for heart disease, in African-Americans.
What is heart disease? Heart disease refers to any damage or disruption of the normal physiology of the heart, vessels and/or veins. The underlying cause of heart disease is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries due to blockage by cholesterol. One of my professors used to refer to the heart as a “Tricked out blood vessel.” It truly is the Mac Daddy of all of the blood vessels in your body. Consequently, blockage of any one or more of the arteries to your heart could result in a heart attack. It can take 20 years for your artery to accumulate enough cholesterol to become blocked, which is why it is pertinent that as young people we START NOW to prepare for the future.
In the past, studies have linked Vitamin D to a reduced risk for developing diseases like colon cancer and osteoporosis. According to CBS News, the researchers in Augusta do not know the exact way in which Vitamin D is having this positive effect on the heart. What we do know is that it is important for maintaining bone and intestinal health and we can now add heart health to the list.
How do we get Vitamin D? While Vitamin D is made in our bodies, a large portion of it can also come from sunlight. Back home we have no issue with receiving adequate exposure to sunlight. However, such is not the case in the United States, especially on the East Coast where the sun is scarce for months at a time. The next time you go to the doctor ask him or her about your Vitamin D levels. If they are low the doctor may give you a prescription for the vitamin.
We are embarking on a new wave in medicine. One in which we have much more control over our health. It is important that we take advantage. Knowledge is power!
***Too much Vitamin D can be toxic. It is important to consult a pharmacist or physician before taking any dietary supplement.