Sunshine and coronary heart disease

Part 3: Vitamin D deficiency and other cardiovascular diseases

Coronary heart disease is not the only condition affecting the heart that is adversely affected by a lack of vitamin D from sunlight.

Congestive heart failure (CHF)

CHF is also more prevalent in those with very low levels of vitamin D.[1] Furthermore, NT-proANP, a protein which is a predictor of the severity of CHF, is also increased when vitamin D levels are low.


High blood pressure, a strong predictor of heart disease, follows a similar pattern, being higher where UV light has a lower intensity and in people with darker skin or who don't get out into the sun enough.[2]

This finding is not confined to western, industrialised cultures. In Central Asia, Stage 1 hypertension was detected in 18% of Uighurs living at low altitude, but in only 1% of Kirghizs who live at high altitude where sunlight's ultraviolet intensity is greater.[3]


1. Zittermann A, Schleithoff SS, Tenderich G, et al. Low vitamin D status: a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of congestive heart failure? J Am Coll Cardiol 2003; 41: 105-12.
2. Rostand SG. Ultraviolet light may contribute to geographic and racial blood pressure differences. Hypertension 1997; 30: 150-6.
3. Fiori G, Facchini F, Pettener D, et . Relationships between blood pressure, anthropometric characteristics and blood lipids in high- and low-altitude populations from Central Asia. Ann Hum Biol 2000; 27: 19-28.

Part 1: Worldwide heart disease patterns | Part 2: Altitude | Part 3: Other cardiac conditions | Part 4: Statins and Vitamin D

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Last updated: December 9, 2011