Curr Drug Targets. 2011 Jan 1;12(1):88-96.
Pilz S, Tomaschitz A, Drechsler C, Zittermann A, Dekker JM, März W.
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Nuclear Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Austria. stefan.pilz at chello.at.
Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent due to lifestyle and environmental factors which limit sunlight induced vitamin D production in the skin.
This "pandemic" of vitamin D deficiency is of concern because low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) have been associated with cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, infectious, autoimmune and malignant diseases.
Epidemiological studies have largely but not consistently shown that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for strokes.
This is supported by associations of low 25(OH)D levels with cerebrovascular risk factors, in particular with arterial hypertension.
Vitamin D has also been shown to exert neuroprotective, neuromuscular and osteoprotective effects which may reduce cognitive and functional impairments in poststroke patients.
Hence, the current literature favours the notion that vitamin D supplementation is a promising approach for the prevention and treatment of strokes but accurate data from interventional studies are missing. Randomized controlled trials are therefore urgently needed to evaluate whether vitamin D supplementation reduces the incidence of strokes and improves the outcome of poststroke patients.
We do, however, believe that currently published data on the multiple health benefits of vitamin D and the easy safe and inexpensive way by which it can be supplemented already argue for the prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency in order to reduce stroke associated morbidity and mortality. PMID: 20795935
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