A new study makes the case that patients suffering from heart failure should consider taking vitamin D supplements daily. UK researchers who followed the progress of about 160 such patients found that the vitamin made a big difference in improving damaged hearts, reports the Telegraph.
The researchers gave some patients a vitamin D3 pill daily and some a placebo. After a year, the hearts of the first group were pumping out more blood—efficiency improved from 26 percent to 34%, while the blood flow of those who took the dummy pill showed no improvement, reports Medical News Today.
"It's quite a big deal—that's as big as you'd expect from other more expensive treatments that we use," lead researcher Klaus Witte of the School of Medicine at Leeds tells the BBC.
"It's a stunning effect." He and his team say that in the best-case scenario, the supplements could help some people avoid having a costly defribillator implanted.
The study was published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and presented this week in Chicago at the group's annual meeting. (Another study suggests that the hearts of men and women age differently.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Vitamin D Helps Damaged Hearts
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