Vitamin D and vascular disease: the current and future status of vitamin D therapy in hypertension and kidney disease

Current Hypertension Reports, 02/22/2012

These studies are reviewed, with special emphasis on recent findings. Definitive studies are warranted to elucidate the effects of vitamin D supplementation on mechanisms of hypertension and kidney disease.

  • Over the past decade, vitamin D has generated considerable interest as potentially having important effects on the vasculature and the kidney.
  • Animal and human data indicate that vitamin D suppresses the activity of the renin–angiotensin system and improves endothelial function.
  • Observational studies in humans suggest that low 25–hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels are associated with a higher risk of hypertension.
  • However, findings from randomized trials of vitamin D supplementation (with cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol) to lower blood pressure are inconsistent, possibly stemming from variability in study population, sample size, vitamin D dose, and duration.
  • Supplementation with activated vitamin D (i.e., 1,25–dihydroxyvitamin D or analogues) in patients with chronic kidney disease reduces urine albumin excretion, an important biomarker for future decline in renal function.

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