Correction of Vitamin D deficiency can prevent development of cardiovascular disease in patients with chronic kidney disease, says new study.

Researchers from the George Institute for Global Health, New Delhi and   the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, have   found that nutritional vitamin D supplementation improved vascular function and reduced inflammation in patients with early stage of chronic kidney disease.

In a randomized controlled trial under direct supervision the researchers gave two doses of 300,000 units of vitamin D to one group of patients 8 weeks apart whereas the patients in the other group received matching placebo. Several parameters of vascular function and biomarkers to measure status of inflammatory and immune activation were studied at baseline and after 16 weeks. Vitamin D levels increased in patients in the active treatment group whereas there was no change in the control arm.

About 70% of patients receiving vitamin D demonstrated significant improvement in their vascular functions and improvement in biomarkers indicating reduction in the level of inflammatory and immune activation. In the placebo arm only 5% patients showed improved vascular function and there was no change in the inflammatory and immune markers. Neither the patients nor the study doctors were aware of which patients received which treatment till the end.

'Vitamin D deficiency is common in patients with chronic kidney disease. Our study shows that simply identifying and correcting this abnormality has the potential to improve the outcomes in these patients' - said Dr Vivek Kumar, the first author of the study.

 'About one in 10 people suffer from chronic kidney disease around the world. Most of these patients are destined to develop premature cardiovascular disease, hence mitigation of this risk is an important therapeutic goal' - pointed out Professor Vivekanand Jha, the leader of the group that did the study.

 'Vitamin D is cheap and widely available, and through its favorable effects on inflammatory and immune functions, has the potential to favorably influence the course of these patients. This study has shown improvement in a range of parameters in vitamin-D treated patients. What makes this finding of special importance is that patients in both groups were already on optimal treatment to reduce cardiovascular risk, hence the benefit of vitamin D was additive', - he went on to say.

This encouraging finding lays the foundation of doing trials to show whether this short-term benefit leads to improvement in clinically important end-points in long term studies. 

NB : The study is being presented at the late breaking clinical trials session at the American Society of Nephrology meeting at San Diego on November 5.