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Vitamin D Supplements Won't Help Cholesterol Levels: Study
Date:9/4/2012

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Boosting vitamin D with supplements may not improve blood cholesterol levels among people who have low vitamin D levels, a new study suggests.

In the small new study of people who were deficient in vitamin D, those who received 50,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D3 for eight weeks did not show any improvements in their cholesterol profile when compared to their counterparts who received a placebo.

Those who took vitamin D showed a decrease in levels of parathyroid hormone and increases in calcium levels. These changes corresponded with an increase in low-density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol levels, the study showed.

"Correcting a vitamin D deficiency with oral vitamin D supplements does not improve cholesterol levels in the short term," said study author Dr. Manish Ponda, assistant professor of clinical investigation in the laboratory of biochemical genetics and metabolism at Rockefeller University in New York City. "This is not the definitive answer on vitamin D and cholesterol, though it is an important step toward determining how they are related."

Participants' vitamin D levels roughly tripled as a result of taking these mega-doses.

The study findings appear Sept. 4 in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin" because humans make it in response to the sun's rays. In recent years, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to heart disease, certain cancers, osteoporosis and diabetes, among other conditions. Vitamin D is added to milk and other foods, and is found in fatty fish, beef, liver, cheese and egg yolks, but supplements are often needed. The Institute of Medicine recently raised the recommended daily intake to 600 IU for people aged 1 to 70 and 800 IU for adults older than 70. Other groups set the bar even higher.

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