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Vitamin D May Lower Blood Pressure in African-Americans

Researchers report ‘modest but significant’ gains (Mar. 13)

Hypertension — a risk factor for heart attacks, heart failure, and stroke — is 40% more common in African-Americans than in other American ethnic groups. In a new study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass., researchers have shown that vitamin D supplementation may help African-Americans lower their blood pressure. The findings were published online in the March 13 edition of Hypertension.

“This study may explain and help treat an important public health disparity,” said lead author John Forman, MD. “More research is needed, but these data may indicate that vitamin D supplementation lowers blood pressure in African-Americans.”

The researchers divided 250 African-American adults into four groups. Three of the groups received a 3-month regimen of daily vitamin D supplementation at various doses ranging between 1,000 and 4,000 units. The fourth group received placebo.

The participants in the placebo group saw their systolic blood pressure (SBP) rise, but the participants in the supplementation groups had their SBP decrease by one to four points, with those who received the highest dose benefiting the most.

“The gains were modest, but significant,” Forman said. “If further research supports our finding, widespread use of vitamin D supplementation in African-Americans could have significant public health benefits.”

Source: Brigham and Women’s Hospital; March 13, 2013.

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