• Coronary Artery Disease: The Overlooked Vitamin

    Posted October 26, 2018: by Bill Sardi

    Quick, all you savvy readers who know about vitamins, without any further investigation, which antioxidant vitamin listed below is NOT known to exert therapeutic benefits for coronary artery disease?

    1. Vitamin A
    2. Vitamin E
    3. Vitamin C
    4. Vitamin D
    5. Vitamin K

    There is no trick to the above question. It is well documented that vitamins E, C, D and K may be beneficial in preventing and treating coronary artery disease. Most astute followers of vitamin therapy would likely say vitamin A shouldn’t even be on the list.

    A couple of years ago (2016) researchers evaluated circulating blood levels of vitamin A among 1499 patients with confirmed coronary artery disease over a 4-year period, 208 who died of cardiovascular disease (295 deaths from all causes). Blood serum vitamin A levels were significantly lower among those who died (21 nanomole/liter) than those who survived (39 nanomole/liter). Those subjects with the highest blood levels of vitamin A were 44% less likely to die for any reason and 40% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease. [Circulation Research 2016]

    A prior study published in 2014 revealed the following:

    6069 subjects


    Less than 30 micromole/liter

    30-80 micromole/liter

    More than 80 micromole/liter

    Mortality risk coronary artery disease


    Control group for comparison


    Mortality risk all causes


    Control group for comparison


    Source: Nutrition Metabolism Cardiovascular Disease Nov 2014


    This study suggests there is a modest increased risk for mortality due to excessive vitamin A and a strong risk for death (2.5 to almost 3.0 fold) when vitamin A levels are low among subjects with coronary artery disease.

    Two years earlier (2014) there was a corroborative study showing individuals with the lowest blood concentration of vitamin A were 265% more likely to experience a fatal or non-fatal heart attack.

    9758 subjects


    Less than 601 mcg/liter

    601-683 mcg/liter

    684-760 mcg/liter

    761-846 mcg/liter

    Greater than 846 mcg/liter

    Risk for fatal and non-fatal heart attack





    Control group for comparison

    Source: Atherosclerosis Jan 2010


    Vitamin A concentration is increased in hearts with coronary artery disease. [International Journal Molecular Medicine March 2014]

    An 10-year old authoritative report stated (paraphrased): “The re-establishment of adequate blood flow in a coronary artery with a narrowed inner diameter due to plaque buildup achieved by surgical intervention may not be achieved long-term because of recurrence of plaque buildup. Vitamin A is a therapeutic agent that interferes with the biological processes that lead to re-occlusion of the narrowed blood vessel. [Clinical Science Jan 2008]

    Ignoring vitamin A is good for the cardiologist and bad for the patient. Pay heed to the science which strongly points to vitamin A as being both preventive and therapeutic for anyone who wants to avoid coronary artery disease or who has coronary artery disease and wants to avoid further treatments and heart damage.

    Beta carotene converts to vitamin A when consumed with fats in the diet. However, this conversion from beta carotene to vitamin A may not be efficient. About half of the population has a gene variant that reduces the amount of vitamin A we get from beta carotene by 30-70%.

    Conversion of beta carotene-rich plant foods to vitamin A varies by 8-fold from individual to individual. Researchers conclude beta carotene may not be a good vitamin A source.

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