The effect of vitamin D supplementation on brachial artery flow mediated dilation in older adults with and without rheumatoid arthritis

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ABSTRACT Despite significant advancements in drug therapy, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is still the leading cause of death in the United States. Given this, research has begun to seek out alternative

ABSTRACT Despite significant advancements in drug therapy, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is still the leading cause of death in the United States. Given this, research has begun to seek out alternative approaches to reduce CVD risk. One of these alternative approaches is Vitamin D supplementation. Current research has shown a link between Vitamin D status and CVD risk in both healthy and diseased populations. Among the possible mechanisms is a positive effect of Vitamin D on vascular endothelial function, which can be measured with noninvasive techniques such as flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of conduit vessels using high-resolution ultrasound. This dissertation is comprised of two studies. The first examines whether Vitamin D supplementation can improve FMD in older adults within a time period (two weeks) associated with peak increases in plasma Vitamin D concentrations after a single-dose supplementation. The second examines the effect of Vitamin D supplementation in people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The reason for looking at an RA population is that CVD is the leading cause of early mortality in people with RA. In the first study 29 Post-Menopausal Women received either 100,000 IU of Vitamin D3 or a Placebo. Their FMD was measured at baseline and 2 weeks after supplementation. After 2 weeks there was a significant increase in FMD in the Vitamin D group (6.19 + 4.87 % to 10.69 + 5.18 %) as compared to the Placebo group (p=.03). In the second study, 11 older adults with RA were given 100,000 IU of Vitamin D or a Placebo. At baseline and one month later their FMD was examined as well as plasma concentrations of Vitamin D and tumor necrosis factor-alpha; (TNF-alpha;). They also filled out a Quality of Life Questionnaire and underwent a submaximal exercise test on the treadmill for estimation of maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max). There was no significant change in FMD in Vitamin D group as compared to the Placebo group (p=.721). Additionally, there was no significant improvement in either plasma Vitamin D or TNF-alpha; in the Vitamin D group. There was however a significant improvement in predicted VO2max from the submaximal exercise test in the group receiving Vitamin D (p=.003). The results of these studies suggest that a single 100,000 IU dose of Vitamin D can enhance FMD within two week in older adults, but that a similar dose may not be sufficient to increase FMD or plasma Vitamin D levels in older adults with RA. A more aggressive supplementation regimen may be required in this patient population.