The study, published in the journal Pharmacogenomics, showed patients with high blood pressure who possess a gene variant that affects an enzyme critical to normal vitamin D activation are twice as likely as those without the variant to have congestive heart failure.
"This study is the first indication of a genetic link between vitamin D action and heart disease," Robert U. Simpson of the University of Michigan Medical School said in a statement.
"This study revealed that a critical enzyme absolutely required for production of the vitamin D hormone has a genetic variant associated with the development of congestive heart failure."
If subsequent studies confirm the finding and demonstrate a mechanism researchers may be able to screen earlier for those most vulnerable and slow the progress of heart failure, Simpson said.
Duggar sisters unveil Christian dating rules in new book
McPhee, Cokas 'working on their marriage' after affair