Low levels of vitamin D are known to nearly double the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes, and researchers may have found the reason why.
They have found that diabetics deficient in vitamin D can’t process cholesterol normally, so it builds up in their blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. A new research has identified a mechanism linking low vitamin D levels to heart disease risk and may lead to ways to fix the problem, simply by increasing levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D inhibits the uptake of cholesterol by cells called macrophages. When people are deficient in vitamin D, the macrophage cells eat more cholesterol, and they can’t get rid of it. The macrophages get clogged with cholesterol and become what scientists call foam cells, which are one of the earliest markers of atherosclerosis.
Macrophages are dispatched by the immune system in response to inflammation and often are activated by diseases such as diabetes.
[via Science Daily]
Chapter: Diabetes,Heart Disease,Vitamins :: 27 October 2009