Recently published studies report that vitamin D is important for cardiovascular health, with low levels linked to increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Markus Juonala, from the University of Turku (Finland), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 2,148 subjects enrolled in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, ages 3 to 18 years at the study’s start; subjects were re-examined at ages 30 to 45 years. Childhood levels of vitamin D were measured from stored serum. Carotid intima-thickness (IMT) – a marker of structural atherosclerosis, which correlates with cardiovascular risk factors, and predicts cardiovascular events – was measured on the posterior wall of the left carotid artery using ultrasound technology.
Data analysis revealed that the study subjects with 25-OH vitamin D levels (a marker of vitamin D) in the lowest quartile in childhood had subclinical atherosclerosis over 25 years later in adulthood. The study authors submit that: “Low 25-OH vitamin D levels in childhood were associated with increased carotid intima-thickness in adulthood.”