Vitamin D deficiency may lead to increased hypertension risk: Iranian study

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Vitamin D has been found to have an inverse association with blood pressure. ©iStock
Vitamin D has been found to have an inverse association with blood pressure. ©iStock

Related tags Blood pressure Vitamin d

Insufficient levels of vitamin D might play a role in hypertension risk, according to an Iranian case-control study.

Hypertension is one of the world’s top causes of death, with approximately 1 billion people worldwide suffering from the condition.

While several studies have found a positive correlation between hypertension and vitamin D deficiency, the effects of vitamin D intake on blood pressure and hypertension have not yet been proven.

With this in mind, researchers from Iran’s Hamadan University of Medical Sciences conducted a case-control study to investigate the potential impact of vitamin D levels on hypertension risk and blood pressure.

High blood pressure, low vitamin D levels

They assessed a total of 188 subjects (55 hypertension patients and 133 healthy controls) aged 25 to 89; 139 were women and 49 were men.

Their medical history was recorded and they underwent a physical examination, after which their blood levels of serum vitamin D were measured.

The researchers found that those with hypertension had lower serum levels of vitamin D than the healthy controls: "Mean and standard deviation of serum 25(OH)D level in patients suffering from hypertension was 13.10±9.7 ng/ml and in control group was 20.87±10.34 ng/ml. This variance was statistically significant."

They added that systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as mean arterial blood pressure, was higher among those deficient in vitamin D than in those with sufficient vitamin D levels.

Age and gender stratification

After adjusting for gender, there remained a 'significant relationship' between serum vitamin D levels and blood pressure in both males and females.

A similar relationship was observed after adjusting for age, but only in those under 50; those above 50 did not display a statistically significant correlation between vitamin D levels and blood pressure.

This led the researchers to state that "unknown factors may play a role on relation between serum vitamin D and blood pressure levels, especially in old age"​.

Possibilities and limitations

The study said the role of vitamin D supplementation in preventing or treating hypertension was 'controversial', despite previous research having concluded that vitamin D levels have an inverse association with blood pressure.

Alluding to earlier studies that had reported lowered systolic blood pressure in hypertension patients following calcitriol supplementation, as well as vitamin D indirectly lowering blood pressure by playing a part in parathyroid hormone performance, the researchers said that "further studies with more samples are required, in which all possible factors are taken into account"​.

They also acknowledged the study's limitations regarding sample size and a disproportionate ratio of female to male subjects, as well as their use of a convenient sampling method to collect data.

In light of the considerable difference in serum vitamin D levels between the study's hypertensive participants and the healthy controls, they concluded that "serum 25(OH)D is inversely associated with blood pressure, so recognising people with vitamin D deficiency is imperative"​.


Source: Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research

"Evaluation of the Relationship between Serum 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D and Hypertension in Hamadan, Iran-A Case Control Study"

Authors: Behshad Naghshtabrizi, et al.

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