(NaturalNews) Up to now, it was mostly just a theory that low levels of vitamin D put people at risk for high blood pressure. But new research suggests this long held theory is set to become a theorem.
From age level to activity level, alcohol abuse to sodium abuse, there's no shortage of risk factors for high blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is generally defined as any blood pressure reading that's measured above 140 mmHg for the systolic pressure reading, and 90 mmHg for the diastolic pressure reading.
While behavioral factors like diet and exercise are the major contributors to a healthy blood pressure, ethnicity and gender play roles as well. For instance, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, African-Americans are most at risk for hypertension, African-American women in particular. In the United States alone, the rate of hypertension among African-American women is nearly 45 percent, much higher than what it is among Caucasian women (28 percent).
But that relatively low rate of hypertension among white women is bound to rise, as a new study suggests vitamin D deficiency increases white women's risk for high blood pressure three-fold.
Researchers from the University of Michigan's School of Public Health discovered this at the conclusion of a 15-year study, which followed the health statistics of approximately 560 women between the ages of 24 and 44 (average age: 38). Every year, blood work and blood pressure readings were taken; vitamin and mineral deficiencies, if any, were also noted.
By 2007, the ending year of their study, they found an interesting corollary between women deficient in vitamin D and whether or not they wound up being hypertensive in 2007. Their findings suggested that, indeed, vitamin D levels were indicative of hypertension. Women with sufficient levels of vitamin D were rarely hypertensive (just over 3 percent), but more than 10 percent of the women with low levels of vitamin D were. Translation: Women with vitamin D deficiency have three times the risk for hypertension than women with high or sufficient levels.
The study, released Sept. 24, was presented to the American Heart Association in Chicago, Ill.
Maintaining high levels of vitamin D is crucial to overall health, but bone health in particular. Health officials have long touted the need for women to increase their calcium intake to maintain bone health and stave off osteoporosis. Increasing vitamin D intake is just as important, for vitamin D is the vitamin that helps the body absorb the bone-building mineral.
Generally speaking, it's suggested that women consume at least 400 IUs of vitamin D per day, as much as 600 IUs in women over the age of 50. These recommendations are likely to increase, however, as health officials are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of vitamin D and the role it plays in a host of health concerns.
The best source for vitamin D is the sun. Health experts say as little as 10 minutes of direct sunlight per day is enough to produce 1,000 IUs of vitamin D (with shirt and shorts, no sunscreen). Just how much vitamin D is produced is largely determined by the time of day, the season, and how direct the sun's rays are.
Food sources for vitamin D are few and far between. It's often found in fortified form, like in dairy and cereal products. But it's found naturally in several varieties of fish. A 3.5 ounce serving of salmon has about 350 IUs of vitamin D; mackerel has just under 345 IUs per 3.5 ounce serving.
Woman or not, whether it's through the sun's rays or the fish that you graze, get this vital vitamin into your system. Your blood pressure may very well depend on it.
Frank Mangano is an American author, health advocate, researcher and entrepreneur in the field of alternative health. He is perhaps best known for his book "The Blood Pressure Miracle," which continues to be an Amazon best selling book. Additionally, he has published numerous reports and a considerable amount of articles pertaining to natural health. Mangano is the publisher of Natural Health On The Web, which offers readers free and valuable information on alternative remedies. To learn more visit: http://www.naturalhealthontheweb.com