Vitamin D has 'stunning' effects on heart failure patients

  • Calvin Stovall
5:43 p.m Tuesday, April 5, 2016 National/World News
(Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

You may have heard that vitamin D is good for bones and teeth, but new research suggests it can also help heal damaged hearts.

Early findings from a study out of England's University of Leeds show that vitamin D-3 pills significantly improved heart function in patients with congestive heart failure, increasing the amount of blood the heart pumps with each beat by 8 percentage points.

The researchers behind the study called the results "stunning" and unlike any treatment breakthrough of the past 15 years.

For some patients, the vitamin could even replace implantable cardioverter defibrillators as a primary treatment of heart failure. Unlike ICDs, vitamin D is cheap, causes no side effects and doesn't require surgery.

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The study is still ongoing, but the early results are promising for the roughly 23 million people around the world affected by heart failure.

For a natural boost, the human skin produces vitamin D during sun exposure. The "sunshine vitamin" can also be found in oily fish and eggs.