Vitamin D-3 Could 'Reverse' Damage to Heart
It was previously believed that the endothelium served no other purpose than to act as an inert â€œwrapperâ€ of the vascular system, allowing both water and electrolytes to pass in and out of the bloodstream.
However, advances over the past 30 years have revealed that the endothelium acts more like an organ that lines the whole of the circulatory system from the â€œheart to the smallest capillaries,â€ and whose cells carry out many unique biological functions.
Changes to the endothelium have been linked to several serious health problems, including high blood pressure, insulin resistance, diabetes, tumor growth, virus infections, and atherosclerosis, which is a condition wherein fatty deposits can build up inside arteries and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Vitamin D-3 has role beyond bone health
â€œIt doesnâ€™t mean that the deficiency caused the heart attack,â€ he adds, â€œbut it increased the risk of heart attack.â€
Nanosensors probed effect of D-3 on cells
For their study, Prof. Malinski and colleagues developed a measuring system using nanosensors, or tiny probes that are 1,000 times smaller than the thickness of human hair and can operate at the level of atoms and molecules.
They used the nanosensors to track the impact of vitamin D-3 on molecular mechanisms in human endothelial cells that had been treated to show the same type of damage that occurs from high blood pressure.
The findings suggest that vitamin D-3 is a powerful trigger of nitric oxide, which is a molecule that plays an important signaling role in the control of blood flow and the formation of blood clots in blood vessels.
The researchers also found that vitamin D-3 significantly reduces oxidative stress in the vascular system.
Could D-3 reverse cardiovascular damage?
They suggest that vitamin D-3 has the potential to significantly reverse the damage that high blood pressure, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and other diseases inflict on the cardiovascular system.
â€œThere are not many,â€ Prof. Malinski adds, â€œif any, known systems which can be used to restore cardiovascular endothelial cells which are already damaged, and vitamin D-3 can do it.â€
â€œThis is a very inexpensive solution to repair the cardiovascular system. We donâ€™t have to develop a new drug. We already have it.â€
Prof. Tadeusz Malinski