A five-year study at the University of Leeds suggests a daily dose of vitamin D improves heart function in people with chronic heart failure.
The study, which was funded by the Medical Research Council and involved several BHF-funded researchers including BHF Professor Mark Kearney, found that in the 80 patients who took Vitamin D, the heart's pumping function improved from 26 per cent to 34 percent. In the others, who took placebo, there was no change in cardiac function.
Our thoughts on the findings
Professor Peter Weissberg, our Medical Director, comments: "Ideally, any new treatment for heart failure should make patients feel better and live longer. This research found that giving 12 months vitamin D supplementation to heart failure patients with subnormal vitamin D levels was safe and measurements of heart function showed some improvement.
"However, there was no significant improvement in the patients’ ability to exercise. A much bigger study over a longer period of time is now needed to determine whether these changes in cardiac function can translate into fewer symptoms and longer lives for heart failure patients."
Having heart failure means that for some reason your heart is not pumping blood around the body as well as it used to. The most common reason for this is that your heart muscle has been damaged, for example after a heart attack.
Living with severe heart failure is a constant fight for life. Every year, thousands more families have to watch the people they love struggle with this devastating condition.
Over the past 50 years BHF research has made breakthroughs in heart failure medicines like ACE inhibitors, but there is still more that needs to be done.
Mending Broken Hearts
The Mending Broken Hearts Appeal is our most ambitious programme yet. Our fundraising appeal will pay for research into cardiovascular regenerative medicine.
This field of medicine aims to try and repair the damage caused by a heart attack.