Vitamin D Supplements May Aid Black Adults’ Heart Health

The Neuliven Health team is always interested in learning more about what supplements can aid health. We want to help our bodies perform their best. That means taking care of ourselves through diet and lifestyles, medical advice from our doctors and supplements — after reviewing them with a health professional.

Sometimes supplements are made of great mixes of ingredients to aid health and wellness. Other times they are one ingredient that will boost aspects of health. Often those one ingredient supplements are ones that aren’t readily found in our diets.

Vitamin D is vital for many aspects of health. It promotes strong bones and teeth, supports the immune system, aids the lungs and the heart, regulates blood sugar and may protect against cancer. With so many benefits, it’s essential to get enough. However, many of us don’t. While vitamin D can be found in some foods, we predominantly make vitamin D in our own bodies. Our tissues create vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

If you aren’t exposed to enough sun, your body cannot make enough vitamin D. You can try to eat more fatty fish, eggs, fortified milk, liver and mushrooms, or you might want to take a supplement. You might be getting too little sun because you work long hours, live far north, wear sunscreen all the time or have dark skin.

Dark skin has a harder time absorbing ultraviolet radiation B rays from the sun. That is the type of light needed to make vitamin D. The guidelines for how long you need to sit out in the sun to get enough light to have healthy levels of vitamin D are usually calculated to lighter skin. People with dark skin may need three hours longer in the sun to absorb the same amount of light as a pale person. That means that Black people are at a higher risk for vitamin D deficiency. And that means they might be at a higher risk for heart disease.

A small study found that people with dark skin had lower vitamin D levels and nitric oxide and poorer blood vessel function. The lead researcher, S. Tony Wolf, a postdoctoral fellow Penn State Univ. pointed out that there is no direct cause-and-effect relationship between vitamin D and heart disease. But it is a known factor.

When you have a higher risk, like this one, it’s worth discussing your options with your doctor. Vitamin D is essential for many aspects of health. It may be worth adding a supplement to your daily routine for your overall health as well as heart health. Not all supplements are suitable for everyone, but they are always worth considering. There are so many ways to help yourself. Research like this underscores the importance of ensuring you have the correct amount of nutrients in your system, whether through your diet, lifestyle, or supplements.    

Banner image: AllGo via Unsplash

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