As reported by The Hartford Courant, October 6, 2009.

UConn Health Center Studying Vitamin D Deficiency, Hypertension Link

By Chris DeFrancesco

Vitamin D is known to be important to bone health, but what about heart health? Physician scientists at the University of Connecticut Health Center are looking into a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and high blood pressure.

"Often patients don't realize they have a vitamin D deficiency, or are unaware of its relationship with health problems other than bone disorders," says Dr. William B. White, professor of medicine and hypertension expert in the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center, the study's principal investigator. "We hope that we can spread awareness about the association so that when patients with hypertension ask their doctors, 'What if I have vitamin D deficiency?' then their doctors will be prepared to make informed decisions about what to do about this problem."

White and Dr. Pooja Luthra, assistant professor of medicine and an endocrinologist in the New England Musculoskeletal Institute, are recruiting patients with a diagnosis of treated or untreated high blood pressure and a low vitamin D level. They also must not be taking regular doses of vitamin D.

Patients who participate in the study would first receive either vitamin D supplements or an enzyme blocker that targets renin, which is produced in the kidney. They then would get both treatments. Their blood pressure would be monitored both in the office setting and out of the office using a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor.

More information about the study is available by calling study coordinator Patricia Keltonic, at 860-679-4116.