Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are evaluating whether vitamin D can slow the development of cardiovascular problems in African Americans with diabetes. They are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than Caucasians with diabetes.
The researchers are seeking to enroll about 90 African Americans who are 45 to 80 years old and have type 2 diabetes. Study volunteers must not have heart disease or have suffered a stroke.
Subjects will be evaluated about every two months to measure blood sugar levels, hypertension, heart function and various markers of inflammation — all risk factors for heart disease.
“Cardiovascular disease is a major health problem and cause of mortality in African Americans,” said Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi, MD, the study’s principal investigator. “Compared to Caucasians, African Americans suffer disproportionately from type 2 diabetes and heart disease.”Research subjects will be evaluated about every two months to measure blood sugar levels, hypertension, heart function and various markers of inflammation — all risk factors for heart disease.
Nationally, African Americans with diabetes are 36 percent more likely than Caucasians with diabetes to die of cardiovascular disease. In past studies, Bernal-Mizrachi has found that low levels of vitamin D can double the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes. His research also shows that blood vessels near the heart are less likely to clog in people who get adequate levels of the key vitamin.
“Compared to other potential interventions, vitamin D is very inexpensive and doesn’t have many known side effects,” said Bernal-Mizrachi. “We believe vitamin D could have a very big impact if the study shows that it can prevent or delay heart problems in African Americans with diabetes.”
For more information or to volunteer, call study coordinator Robin Bruchas at 314-362-0934 or email vitaminDstudy@dom.wustl.edu
The featured article was originally published at Washington University’s Newsroom: Study: Can vitamin D slow heart complications form diabetes?