Science: Vitamin D, Atrial Fibrillation and Glaucoma. What is the Connection?
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7 months ago
david 4.2k
@david_fe

In biology and medical research, the interplay between different factors often reveals intriguing insights. One such relationship that has recently come to my attention is the potential association between vitamin D, atrial fibrillation (A-fib) and glaucoma. I'm drawing upon two scientific studies to make this connection, one of which was just published online this month and the other was published only la month earlier -- so these are very new studies.

The first study I'll discuss is a large study conducted in Korea, using data from the National Health Insurance Service, has shed light on this connection. You can find the abstract here:

Association between atrial fibrillation and the risk of glaucoma development: a 12-year Nationwide cohort study - PubMed

Atrial fibrillation, a common heart condition characterized by irregular and often rapid heart rate, was found to have a significant association with the development of glaucoma.

The research methodology involved a National Sample Cohort consisting of approximately one million random subjects who were tracked over a span of 12 years, from 2002 to 2013.

The study included newly diagnosed cases of glaucoma and A-fib, based on the Korean Classification of Disease codes. The A-fib group comprised patients who received an initial A-fib diagnosis between January 2003 and December 2007. A control group was selected using a 1:5 propensity-score matching for social and demographic factors. Each subject was followed up until 2013, and a multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression analysis was performed to compare the risk of glaucoma development between the A-fib group and the control group.

The results of the study were quite revealing. The rate of glaucoma development was found to be 3.54% in the A-fib group and 2.96% in the control group. After adjusting for age, sex, comorbidities, residence, household income, and year of enrollment, it was found that A-fib increased the risk of glaucoma development. The hazard ratio was 1.31, with a 95% confidence interval of 1.15 to 1.48. Furthermore, patients with comorbidity of diabetes mellitus and chronic renal failure, and those aged 50 years and above, showed a significantly higher risk of glaucoma development.

In summary, the study found a significant association between A-fib and the development of glaucoma.

With that in mind, here's the second study that caught my attention:

The effect of vitamin D3 supplementation on atrial fibrillation in generally healthy men and women: The Finnish Vitamin D Trial - PubMed

This study was a post hoc analysis from the Finnish Vitamin D Trial, which aimed to investigate the effects of 5-year vitamin D3 supplementation on atrial fibrillation (AFib) risk among generally healthy men and women. The participants were randomized to receive either 1,600 IU/d or 3,200 IU/d of vitamin D3 or a placebo.

During the mean follow-up of 4.1 years, 190 participants were diagnosed with AF. The results showed that compared to the placebo group, the AFib risk was 27% lower in the participants who received 1,600 IU/d of vitamin D3 and 32% lower in the participants who received 3,200 IU/d of vitamin D3. When the two vitamin D groups were combined, the risk was decreased by 30%.

After excluding participants with AFib diagnosis during the first two years of follow-up, the risk reductions were larger. Also, after excluding participants who reported using antiarrhythmic medications at baseline, those in the 1,600 IU/d vitamin D3 arm had a 27% lower risk of AF diagnosis, and those in the 3,200 IU/d arm had a 30% lower risk.

The authors concluded that high-dose vitamin D3 supplementation may reduce the incidence of AFib in a generally healthy, largely vitamin D sufficient elderly population.

However, the study has a few important limitations, the main one being that it is a post hoc exploratory analysis. They also noted that given the divergent findings from other randomized clinical trials, additional trials, especially in diverse populations, are needed to elucidate the role of vitamin D supplementation in AF prevention.


  1. Association between atrial fibrillation and the risk of glaucoma development: a 12-year Nationwide cohort study - PubMed
  1. The effect of vitamin D3 supplementation on atrial fibrillation in generally healthy men and women: The Finnish Vitamin D Trial - PubMed
dietary-supplements glaucoma afib:atrial-fibrillation vitamin-D • 234 views
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