July 21/Boston/American Journal of Clinical Nutrition -- Men who consume the recommended amount of vitamin D are somewhat less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those who get little of the vitamin in their diets.

Although studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), evidence regarding whether vitamin D intake from foods or supplements is prospectively associated with lower CVD risk in healthy humans has been inconclusive.

To evaluate the associations between both dietary and supplemental vitamin D and CVD risk, researchers followed 74,272 women and 44,592 men from America, free of CVD and cancer at the start of the study, for almost two decades.

It was found that men who got at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day -- the current recommended amount -- were over 15% less likely to develop heart problems or a stroke, versus men who got less than 100 IU per day. However, there was no such pattern among women. The findings do not prove that vitamin D, itself, deserves the credit for the lower risks seen in men.

From the July 21, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.