New research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2015 found that stroke patients with low vitamin D levels were more likely to suffer severe strokes and have poor health after stroke than those with normal levels of vitamin D.
Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for 1 out of every 19 deaths. Risk factors for stoke include old age, diabetes, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, and high blood pressure. High blood pressure is considered the most modifiable risk factor of stroke.
Research has shown that vitamin D is associated with high blood pressure, and may even reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients. This has led researchers to become interested in the relationship between stroke and vitamin D.
Recently, researchers conducted a study of 96 stroke patients treated between January 2013 and 2014 at a U.S. hospital.
They found that stroke patients with low vitamin D levels (levels below 30 ng/ml) had about two times larger areas of dead tissue resulting from the obstruction of the blood supply compared to patients with normal vitamin D levels (levels above 30 ng/ml). For each 10 ng/ml reduction in vitamin D levels, the odds of a healthy recovery in the three months following stroke were reduced by almost half.
The senior study author, Dr. Neil Henninger, concluded, “The results do provide the impetus for further rigorous investigations into the association of vitamin D status and stroke severity. If our findings are replicated, the next logical step may be to test whether supplementation can protect patients at high risk for stroke.”