High cholesterol: vitamin D deficiency linked to higher risk
High cholesterol refers to the presence of fatty molecules that circulate in the blood and deposit on the artery walls, causing them to become blocked. Although it is usually harmless at first, the disease can wreak havoc on the body if left untreated. Researchers continue to uncover some of the different risk factors for the disease. While some foods should be avoided at all costs, other foods that contain a key vitamin can reduce the risk of high cholesterol.
Vitamin D is essential for well-being, with a plethora of studies highlighting its role in the immune system and bone health.
But the sunshine vitamin, so called because it is produced in the body by the action of sunlight, also has strong associations with cholesterol.
According to Heart UK, the body needs cholesterol in its skin cells to make vitamin D from the sun.
“Vitamin D is then further processed in the liver and kidneys, but cholesterol is needed for the first step,” says Heart UK.
READ MORE: Hypercholesterolemia: Doctors Name and Shame “Foods High in Cholesterol” to Avoid
To date, meta-analyzes have shown that people with lower vitamin D levels are more likely to have high cholesterol dyslipidemia.
Dyslipidemia refers to an abnormal level of cholesterol and other lipids, also called fats, in the blood.
But while researchers have found a correlation between the two conditions, no “cause and effect” relationship has been established.
The term generally describes an excess of triglycerides in the blood and therefore covers more than LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.
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This association between vitamin D deficiency and dyslipidemia was illustrated in a 2018 study, published in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion.
The researchers wrote: “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with dyslipidemia in a cohort of 3788 subjects, serum 25 (OH) D is inversely correlated with LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and positively correlated with HDL cholesterol levels. .
Despite overwhelming evidence highlighting the essential role of vitamin D in the body, levels remain exceptionally low in the UK and other countries.
Healthline writes: “Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It is estimated that around one billion people around the world have lower blood levels of the vitamin. In addition, vitamin D levels have reportedly fallen further due to the pandemic.
However, when the nutrient cannot be obtained by exposure to the sun, it must come from the food.
Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, beef liver, and fortified products like grains, soy milk, and orange juice.
How to avoid high cholesterol
It is well known that diet is of the utmost importance in helping to lower blood lipids within a healthy range.
Certain foods high in soluble fiber can lower cholesterol by binding to fat molecules and pushing them out of the body.
All fruits, vegetables and legumes and good sources of soluble fiber.
Equally important in managing illness is exercise, with running, walking, cycling and swimming all having promising effects.
Plus, researchers believe exercise may help raise HDL, or good cholesterol.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density cholesterol (HDL).” With your doctor’s approval, get at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes three times a week. “