This Vitamin May Not Lower Blood Pressure

Tarrytown Pharmacy owner says blood pressure medications are more effective than vitamin D in lowering blood pressure

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Just because people with low vitamin D levels often have high blood pressure doesn't mean that more vitamin D will fix the problem.

Some scientists believe vitamin D may boost heart health. A new review, however, found that taking vitamin D supplements was not an effective way to lower blood pressure. The authors of this new report recommended that these supplements not be used as a high blood pressure treatment.

Vitamin D is essential for overall good health. Foods like fish, eggs, milk, soy milk and orange juice are rich in the vitamin. Sunshine also provides vitamin D.

Miles D. Witham, PhD, of the Medical Research Institute at the University of Dundee, Scotland, and colleagues conducted this research.

“There has been some interest in using vitamin D to control blood pressure but our work suggests that it is not effective for this purpose — either in people with high blood pressure or in the general population,” Dr. Witham told dailyRx News.

Dr. Witham and colleagues reviewed results from 46 trials of vitamin D supplementation and blood pressure. These studies included more than 4,500 patients.

These researchers could find no evidence that vitamin D supplements affected either systolic or diastolic blood pressure.

Systolic is the top number in a blood pressure reading and measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. Diastolic is the bottom number, and it measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).

Dr. Witham noted that some studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and high blood pressure. He said, however, that other factors could contribute to both conditions.

“Having other illnesses, being overweight, and being less active are all explanations that would fit,” Dr. Witham said.

He suggested that patients manage high blood pressure by losing weight and staying as fit and active as possible. If blood pressure remains high, patients may talk to a doctor about medications to reduce hypertension.

“[Medications] are effective, they reduce death, heart attacks and strokes, and there are plenty to choose from, so that you will be able to find the combination that is right for you,” Dr. Witham said.

Mark Newberry, PharmD, owner of Tarrytown Pharmacy in Austin, TX, echoed Dr. Witham's comments.

"If you have been diagnosed with or think you have high blood pressure, vitamin D is not a therapeutic agent to treat this condition," Dr. Newberry told dailyRx News. "There are many FDA medications which have been found very safe and very effective at controlling high blood pressure and vitamin D is not one of them."

This study was published online March 16 in JAMA Internal Medicine. The authors disclosed no funding sources or conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
March 16, 2015
Last Updated:
March 17, 2015