A daily consumption of vitamin D3 may improve functioning of the heart in people with chronic failure of the organ, a new study has found.
Results suggested that for patients with heart disease taking vitamin D3 at regular intervals may lreduce the need for them to be fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a device that detects dangerous irregular heart rhythms and can shock the heart to restore a normal rhythm.
Patients, in the study, who took vitamin D3 experienced an improvement in heart functioning, as compared to those who did not.
Ejection fraction -- measuring the pumping of blood from the heart with each heartbeat -- in heart failure patients is often significantly impaired whereas in a healthy person it is usually between 60 and 70 percent.
Heart's pumping function improved from 26 percent to 34 percent, in patients who took Vitamin D3.
"This is a significant breakthrough for patients. It is the first evidence that vitamin D3 can improve heart functioning of people with heart muscle weakness -- known as heart failure," said led researcher Klaus Witte from the University of Leeds in Britain.
Study was done on more than 160 patients from Leeds, who were already under treatment for their heart failure using proven treatments including beta-blockers, ACE-inhibitors and pacemakers.
They were asked to take vitamin D3 or a dummy (placebo) tablet for one year. Those who took placebo, there was no change found in cardiac function.
Research could make a significant difference to the care of heart failure patients as ICDs are expensive and involve an operation, the researchers maintained.
Heart failure affects more than 23 million worldwide. The condition can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in older people -- more than half of all people globally with heart failure are over the age of 75.
The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology 65th Annual Scientific Session & Expo in Chicago, US.