People with low blood levels of vitamin D were found to have a higher incidence of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), potentially dangerous blockages in the leg arteries, reports HealthDay News. Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, presented their findings at the American Heart Assn.’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology annual conference.
More than double the incidence of PAD was found among those with the lowest levels of vitamin D compared to those with the highest levels. Vitamin D, which is made when the body is exposed to sunlight, is converted to a hormone that makes bones stronger. The link to blood vessel problems has emerged in recent years.
Current guidelines recommend a vitamin D intake of 400 IUs a day for people aged 50 and older. In addition to sunlight, other sources of the vitamin are salmon, sardines, cod liver oil, fortified milk and some fortified cereals.