(HealthDay News) — Low vitamin D levels are linked to an increased risk of severe stroke and poor health in stroke survivors, new research finds. The study was scheduled to be presented Wednesday at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference, held from February 11–13 in Nashville, TN.
The study included 96 stroke patients who were treated at a U.S. hospital between 2013–2014. All had experienced an ischemic stroke.
People with low blood levels of vitamin D – <30ng/mL – had about two times larger areas of dead tissue resulting from obstruction of the blood supply than those with normal vitamin D levels. The researchers also found that for each 10ng/mL reduction in vitamin D level, the odds of a healthy recovery in the three months after stroke fell by about half, regardless of age or initial stroke severity.
“It’s too early to draw firm conclusions from our small study,” senior author Nils Henninger, MD, assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, said in an American Stroke Association news release. “However, the results do provide the impetus for further rigorous investigations into the association of vitamin D status and stroke severity. If our findings are replicated, the next logical step may be to test whether supplementation can protect patients at high risk for stroke.”