Current advice suggests that everyone over 65, and at-risk groups such as pregnant women and young children should take a vitamin D supplement. A new trial has shown that a vitamin D supplement may also help people with diseased hearts.
Carried out by the Leeds Teaching Hospital, the trial found that a vitamin D supplement improves the hearts' ability to pump blood around the body in patients with heart failure.
Describing the results 'stunning'; the Leeds Teaching Hospital presented their findings at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology.
As we age, the skin's ability to manufacture Vitamin D gets less effective. During the study patients either had a 100 microgram vitamin D tablet or a sugar pill placebo. The results show that those taking the vitamin D supplement are helping to increase the amount of blood the heart could pump from 26% to 34%.
Dr Witte spoke of the results: "It's quite a big deal, that's as big as you'd expect from other more expensive treatments that we use, it's a stunning effect. "It's as cheap as chips, has no side effects and a stunning improvement on people already on optimal medical therapy. It is the first time anyone has shown something like this in the last 15 years."
The study also shows the patient's hearts became smaller - a suggestion they are becoming more powerful and efficient.
Although the study is encouraging, experts do admit that further investigation needs to be carried out on a larger scale.