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Is Vitamin D Supplementation an Effective Treatment for Hypertension?


Purpose of the review

Results from epidemiological studies suggest that vitamin D (VD) deficiency (VDD) may be a cause of hypertension (HTN). However, the results of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) designed to address the impact of VD supplementation on reducing blood pressure (BP) remain equivocal. To determine whether VD might serve as a beneficial treatment option for a specific subset of hypertensive patients, we performed a stratified analysis of RCT data and addressed problems associated with some methodological issues.

Recent findings

HTN is caused by multiple factors. VDD may be one of the factors contributing to the development of this disorder. There are more than 70 RCTs that examined the impact of VD supplementation on BP. These RCTs can be classified into four groups based on their respective study populations, including participants who are (1) VD-sufficient and normotensive, (2) VD-deficient and normotensive, (3) VD-sufficient and hypertensive, and (4) VD-deficient and hypertensive. Our evaluation of these studies demonstrates that VD supplementation is ineffective when used to reduce BP in VD-sufficient normotensive subjects. VD supplementation for five years or more may reduce the risk of developing HTN specifically among those with VDD. Interestingly, findings from 12 RCTs indicate that daily or weekly supplementation, as opposed to large bolus dosing, results in the reduction of BP in VD-deficient hypertensive patients. Our ongoing research focused on elucidating the mechanisms of VDD-induced HTN will ultimately provide evidence to support the development of etiology-specific prevention and treatment strategies focused on HTN in the VD-deficient population.

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