The American Heart Association reports that taking vitamin D supplements to compensate for vitamin D deficiency didn’t improve cholesterol in short term after following 151 people with vitamin D deficiency who received either a mega-dose (50,000 internationals units) of vitamin D3 or placebo every week for eight weeks.
While Vitamin D levels nearly tripled in the mega-dose group, cholesterol levels were not affected. However, subjects with high-dose supplements of oral vitamin D decreased parathyroid hormone levels and increased calcium levels, physical functional changes that were linked to participants’ increase in low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol.
Longer-term studies on the impact of the changes in LDL cholesterol as a result of high dose vitamin D supplementation are needed to make stronger recommendations. And questions remain about whether increasing vitamin D levels with exposure to sunlight, the predominant natural source, would have a different effect than with high-dose oral supplements.
To address these issues, researchers will begin another clinical trial this fall to compare the effect of oral vitamin D to ultraviolet light exposure with a longer follow-up period.
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