The current study evaluated inflammatory markers in patients with congestive heart failure. Patients took 500 mg of calcium, plus either a placebo or 2000 IU of vitamin D, daily for nine months. Researchers measured cytokines (chemical messengers of the immune system), such as pro-inflammatory TNF (tumour necrosis factor) and anti-inflammatory IL-10 (interleukin 10).
It was found that people who took the vitamin D supplement showed a 43% increase in the anti-inflammatory IL-10 cytokine, whereas the placebo group showed no change. The vitamin D group also maintained levels of the inflammatory TNF cytokine, where the placebo group had a 12% increase in the inflammatory marker.
Previous research suggests that vitamin D may also improve muscular function, control blood pressure, and improve glucose tolerance. Inflammation is an underlying cause in those conditions, and in cardiovascular diseases, such as congestive heart failure.
In recent past, physicians recommended 400 IUs of vitamin D daily. Evidence is mounting that supplementing 2000 IUs of vitamin D is necessary for optimal health. Sunshine stimulates vitamin D production via the intestinal tract, however fears of skin cancer causes many Americans to avoid sun exposure, leading to increased incidences of vitamin D deficiency.
I personally feel that it is best to take a vitamin D supplement that is in an oil base, since vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. This can be in a softgel form or in a dropper bottle. Vitamin D Drops from Carlson in a coconut oil base are an easy way to get 2000 IUs per drop!
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 83 (4), 2006; pp 754 -759.