Black teenagers have an increased risk of experiencing arterial stiffness, a serious condition that often predicts heart disease and stroke. However, results of a new Medical College of Georgia study suggest that these individuals can reduce their risk of developing the condition by regularly taking vitamin D supplements.
Lead investigator Yanbin Dong and his colleagues recruited 44 African American teenagers and tested their vitamin D levels, finding that 95 percent of the group had a significant nutrient deficiency. The researchers then measured each participant’s arterial stiffness using pulse wave velocity.
After going through the tests, the teenagers were randomly assigned to receive either the recommended 400 IU of vitamin D each day or 2,000 IU of the nutrient.
At the point of follow-up, the participants who received the higher dose of the nutrient became vitamin D sufficient and showed signs of improving their arterial system and their cardiovascular function. In contrast, those who took 400 IU of vitamin D remained deficient and received very few benefits from the supplements.
"Our study is the first clinical trial of vitamin D intervention to use 2,000 IU in black subjects and to include cardiovascular risk factors as outcomes in youth," said Dong. "Our study indicates that the current recommendations for vitamin D intake in black teenagers may need to be revised upward."