Increase Vitamin D uptake for better heart health, here's how

Maintaining a healthy heart is very important and a new study says that getting plenty of vitamin D can help with this

Woman getting vitamin D from the winter sun
(Image credit: Getty)

Many people know how important vitamin D is for maintaining good bone health and when we lack this nutrient our bodies can suffer. So not only should we up our vitamin D intake to protect our bones but recent research has revealed that our heart health can also suffer from lack of vitamin D.

Exercise has long been associated with improving cardiovascular health. Whether you use an exercise machine like a best exercise bike or enjoy completing a few sets of best exercises for weight loss you should be able to feel the health benefits of working out, including better heart health.

However, new research from the University of South Australia has found genetic evidence suggesting that vitamin D deficiency plays a part in causing cardiovascular disease.

The European Heart Journal published the study that revealed individuals receiving low levels of vitamin D are more likely to suffer from heart disease and higher blood pressure than people with sufficiently higher levels of vitamin D. 

The risk of heart disease was greater than double for participants with the lowest concentrations of vitamin D in their body, compared to those with sufficient levels.

Vitamin D tablets spilling out a bottle

(Image credit: Getty)

Chief investigator of the study, Professor Elina Hyppönen said that placing greater emphasis on the role of vitamin D deficiency for improving heart health could lower the risk of more people developing heart disease.

"Severe deficiency is relatively rare, but in settings where this does occur it is very important to be proactive and avoid negative effects on the heart," explained Professor Hyppönen. 

She used an example of people who may live in places where sunshine is limited saying that they are more likely to be at risk of a vitamin D deficiency. However, taking a daily supplement such as the best vitamins for over 50 can help to improve levels of important nutrients that our bodies require such as vitamin D.

Lola Biggs a registered dietician at natural health supplement brand Together Health recognizes how difficult it can be to gain enough natural vitamin D exposure over winter. Below she suggests three alternative ways to increase your vitamin D intake.

A nutritionist's guide to increasing your vitamin D intake

  1. Eat more mushrooms - Like humans, mushrooms can make their own vitamin D when exposed to UV light. Shiitake mushrooms in particular are good for increasing vitamin D levels. Toss them into stir frys, casseroles, soups and stews.
  2. Add more oily fish to your diet - A rich source of vitamin D, fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel are some of the best foods high in vitamin D. Egg yolks are also another good source full of vitamins and minerals.
  3. Take a supplement - to help boost your vitamin D levels even throughout the summer months.
Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.