Low levels of vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin – are linked to high blood pressure (hypertension), and vitamin supplements could reverse the problem, a new research study suggests.

In fact, low levels of the vitamin may well be a direct cause of hypertension, say researchers from the University of South Australia. Taking vitamin D supplements is an attractive idea, say the researchers, especially as antihypertensive drugs come with side effects and are expensive.

The researchers found such a strong association between levels of the vitamin in the blood of 146,500 patients with hypertension that they believe that low levels cause the problem.

There was an 8 per cent reduction in the risk of developing hypertension for every 10 per cent increase in levels of the vitamin in blood serum, they found.

(Source: Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 2014; doi: 10.1016/ S2213-8587(14)70113-5)