As a chiropractor who helps people heal their bodies naturally, you’re in a good position to give your patients sound health advice that can ultimately improve their quality of life.
Generally this comes in the form of encouraging them to eat a nutritious diet and to get in at least a little bit of daily exercise . However, according to recent research, promoting the value of vitamin D is also of great importance, especially when it comes to their cardiac health.
Research connecting vitamin D and cardio health
In April 2016, Medical News Today shared research results provided by the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute regarding a study involving 4,200 people between the ages of 52 and 76. The goal of the center was to determine what effect vitamin D levels had on each person’s cardiac health.
After comparing levels with cardiac incidences, they reported that “individuals with low levels of both total vitamin D and bioavailable vitamin D were at greatest risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure and even cardiovascular death, compared with people whose levels of these vitamins were high.”
In other words, the lower a person’s vitamin D, the more he or she risked issues relating to poor cardiac health.
This echoes results found by a similar study, again performed by Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, which was released in late 2015. This one involved the study of 230,000 patients from the center whom they followed over the course of three years.
Upon its conclusion, the findings revealed that individuals with vitamin D levels below 15 ng/ml had higher rates of “cardiac events, including death, coronary artery disease, heart attacks, stroke, and incidents of heart or kidney failure.”
Encouraging patients to raise their vitamin D intake
Based on these types of results, encouraging patients to raise their levels of this key vitamin can help them enhance and protect their cardiac health. And there are several ways they can do it.
One option is simply to take a vitamin D supplement. Should your patient choose this option, Mayo Clinic indicates that the “recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 600 IU for those 1-70 years of age and pregnant or breastfeeding women, and 800 IU for those over 71 years of age.” However, they should always consult with their physician before taking this or any vitamin to ensure that it won’t counteract any of their other medications or adversely affect any known health conditions.
Another alternative that is beneficial to increasing their intake is by eating foods that are rich in vitamin D. Some of the best options, according to the National Institutes of Health, are cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, tuna, orange juice, and vitamin-D fortified milk. Other foods that aren’t quite as high, but still contain a decent amount of vitamin D are yogurt, margarine, sardines, liver, eggs, ready-to-eat cereal, and Swiss cheese.
It also helps to spend more time in the direct sunlight as this helps the cells make their own vitamin D. Because too much time in the sun can raise a person’s risk of skin cancer, one article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests engaging in “sensible sun exposure,” which they define as 5-10 minutes two to three times per week.
Increasing your patients’ knowledge about the cardiac benefits of vitamin D can help them realize the importance of taking this nutrient when it comes to their heart health. By also providing information about alternative ways to get it, you’re giving them the tools they need to look after their own health, both now and in the long term.