Sunshine and Fish are Good for High Blood Pressure

What do exposure to the sun and eating oily fish have in common? They are both excellent sources of vitamin D. This essential vitamin is well known to be important for supporting healthy bones and a strong immune system. However, researchers are now finding that vitamin D is equally vital to maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and lower blood pressure.

Medical researchers estimate that over a billion people around the world are deficient in vitamin D. Many of these people live in northern Europe, China and the USA where long winters and low levels of daylight/sunshine are part of everyday life.

Sunshine and diet are the two main sources of vitamin D. Those lacking this essential vitamin are at higher risk of suffering from osteoporosis, colds and flu, high blood pressure and heart disease. Therefore, its important for these individuals to supplement their diet with Vitamin D-3 sourced from the best fish oil.

Study Finds Connection Between Sunshine, Fish and Lower Blood Pressure

A recent clinical study on 1410 patients found a connection between sunshine, eating fish and lower hypertension. In the study the participants were Chinese residents living in Macau. The study collected data on the following factors:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Blood pressure
  • Hours of sunlight exposure
  • Amount of fish in the diet
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Exercise

Several patterns quickly emerged and were made public in the Special Issue of the "16th Vitamin D Workshop". The study confirmed that lack of exercise, high body mass index, smoking and being overweight were all associated with higher levels of blood pressure. However two other factors showed as having a negative effect on hypertension: lack of sunlight exposure and low intakes of oily fish and seafood.

The study looked at the risk factors on hypertension in more detail and concluded that eating oily fish or seafood four times or more per week was associated with lower blood pressure. They also found that those participants who had half an hour's sunshine exposure per day had less risk of hypertension compared to those who did not.

The study concluded that more sunlight exposure and a high weekly consumption of fish, both good sources of vitamin D, protected against the risks of high blood pressure in the study population. Based on these results, it?s safe to say that individuals who are concerned about high blood pressure may be able to benefit from taking fish oil supplements on a daily basis.

The Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D, whether sourced from sunshine, oily fish or daily supplements helps regulate hypertension by balancing the renin-angiotensin system. If this becomes overactive, there is a higher risk of the person having a heart attack, stroke or high blood pressure.

In addition to supporting a healthy heart and cardiovascular system, vitamin D allows the body to absorb calcium more effectively. This gives the body strong healthy bones and teeth, particularly as we age.

It's never too late to make changes to your lifestyle that will benefit your health. A Japanese study found that elderly patients who were exposed to more sunlight had a measurable increase in their bone density and strength.

Perhaps it?s time to assess your lifestyle and health. Do you get more than 30 minutes sunshine on average every day? Do you eat oily fish and seafood four times a week? If the answer is negative, perhaps you need to add a supplement of vitamin D to your daily diet. The US Board of Food and Nutrition recommends 600 IU daily for adults and children and 800 IU for adults over 70. However, advocates of vitamin D recommend much higher does up to 4,000 IU, which is the upper safety limit set by the US health authorities.

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