Latest News » Study: Vitamin D deficiency may raise risk for repeat strokes

Stroke survivors with low levels of vitamin D could be at greater risk for suffering a repeat stroke.

Stroke survivors with low levels of vitamin D could be at greater risk for suffering a repeat stroke.

A new study finds that low levels of vitamin D in stroke survivors may indicate a warning sign of suffering a repeat stroke.

The research, led by Dr. Nils Henninger of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, evaluated nearly 100 patients who had been treated for ischemic strokes between 2013 and 2014 and found that those who with low levels of vitamin D also exhibited areas of "stroke-related dead brain tissue" that were twice as large as similar tissue seen in patients with healthy vitamin D levels. For the purposes of the study, a low level of vitamin D was defined as less than 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood. 

Additionally, it was determined that a single reduction of 10 ng/mL of vitamin D lowered a stroke survivor's chances of recovering in three months by 50 percent. 

Despite these findings, they do not conclusively prove a cause-and-effect relationship between vitamin D deficiencies and a worsened prognosis for stroke survivors, though they do underscore the further importance of getting enough vitamin D into one's day-to-day routine and the health benefits this can provide.

"It's too early to draw firm conclusions from our small study," Dr. Henninger said in a press release issued by the American Stroke Association (ASA). "However, the results do provide the impetus for further rigorous investigations into the association of vitamin D status and stroke severity. If our findings are replicated, the next logical step may be to test whether supplementation can protect patients at high risk for stroke."

According to the ASA, stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States, occurring when blood vessels that carry nutrients and oxygen necessary for brain health become blocked or ruptured.

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