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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2010, Article ID 579640, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/579640
Review Article

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Hypertension? Current Evidence from Clinical Studies and Potential Mechanisms

1Division of General Internal Medicine and Hypertension, Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216, USA
2Division of Endocrinology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216, USA
3Department of Medicine, G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216, USA

Received 30 April 2009; Revised 26 July 2009; Accepted 29 August 2009

Academic Editor: Vin Tangpricha

Copyright © 2010 M. Iftekhar Ullah et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Vitamin D deficiency is widely prevalent across all ages, races, geographical regions, and socioeconomic strata. In addition to its important role in skeletal development and calcium homeostasis, several recent studies suggest its association with diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, certain types of malignancy, and immunologic dysfunction. Here, we review the current evidence regarding an association between vitamin D deficiency and hypertension in clinical and epidemiological studies. We also look into plausible biological explanations for such an association with the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and insulin resistance playing potential roles. Taken together, it appears that more studies in more homogeneous study populations are needed before a firm conclusion can be reached as to whether vitamin D deficiency causes or aggravates hypertension and whether vitamin D supplementation is safe and exerts cardioprotective effects. The potential problems with bias and confounding factors present in previous epidemiological studies may be overcome or minimized by well designed randomized controlled trials in the future.