The role of vitamin D (VitD) has recently been expanded beyond bone homeostasis and regulation of calcium
levels. VitD deficiency has been proposed as a new risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including stroke. Low
25(OH)VitD levels are very common among post-stroke patients, probably due to their limited mobility and decreased
sunlight exposure along with a higher prevalence of malnutrition, and they have been associated with previous and incident
cerebrovascular events. Contributing mechanisms have been linked to the association of VitD deficiency with the
presence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis. Moreover, there is experimental evidence demonstrating
that VitD exerts neuroprotective effects, such as stimulation of neurotrophic factors, quenching of oxidative hyperactivity
and regulation of neuronal death, as well as antithrombotic properties. It is plausible that VitD supplementation could be a
beneficial intervention for the prevention and/or treatment of cerebrovascular disease possibly by decreasing the aforementioned
cerebrovascular risk factors and simultaneously by improving neurologic and cognitive functions, thereby reducing
falls and fractures in post-stroke patients. However, study results are still conflicting and data from large, randomized
clinical trials are needed to clarify these speculations.
Keywords: Antiatherogenic effect, antithrombotic effect, cardiovascular disease, deficiency, neuroprotection, stroke, vitamin D.
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