Vitamin D Supplements May Improve Cardiac Function in Heart Failure Patients

Taking vitamin D supplements may improve cardiac function in chronic heart failure patients, according to a study presented on April 4 at ACC.16 in Chicago and published simultaneously in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In this randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind trial, Klaus K. Witte, MD, FACC, and colleagues studied 223 patients with chronic heart failure due to secondary left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction and vitamin D deficiency ((25(OH) vitamin D3 <50nmol/L (<20ng/mL)). 20ng/mL)). Participants were either allocated to one year of vitamin D3 supplementation (4000 IU (100μg) 25(OH)D3 daily) or matching non-calcium-based placebo. A total of 163 patients completed the study. The primary endpoint was change in six-minute walk distance from baseline to 12 months, and the secondary endpoint included the change in left ventricular ejection fraction at one year.

While vitamin D supplementation had no effect on the six minute walk test distance, it effectively restored normal levels of 25-OH vitamin D3 and was associated with improvements in cardiac function, resulting in an increase of left ventricular ejection fraction by 6.07 percent, from an average baseline of approximately 26 percent. After 12 months, patients who took vitamin D had greater improvement in echocardiographic measures of LV function, LV dimensions and volumes than patients who took a placebo.

According to the authors, these findings suggest that taking vitamin D supplements may lead to beneficial reverse remodeling.  Patients with chronic heart failure are also frequently deficient in vitamin D and low levels are associated with more severe disease and worse outcomes in these patients.

“New therapies for serious chronic conditions including chronic heart failure are often expensive, increasingly technical and frequently fail to meet the rigorous demands of large phase 3 clinical trials,” the authors write. “Vitamin D might be a cheap and safe additional option for chronic heart failure patients and may have beneficial effects on multiple features of the syndrome.”

Keywords: ACC Annual Scientific Session, Heart Failure, Cardiomyopathies, Cholestanes, Dietary Supplements, Vitamin D

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