ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers linked congestive heart failure to a gene variant affecting vitamin D activation.
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.