BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Low vitamin D levels are associated with increased incidence of future cardiovascular events and are common in stroke patients. We tested whether vitamin D supplementation could reduce blood pressure and improve markers of vascular health in patients who had previously suffered a stroke.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Community-dwelling patients with a history of stroke and baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels <75 nmol/L received 100,000 units of oral vitamin D2 or placebo at baseline. Office and 24 h blood pressure, endothelial function measured by flow-mediated dilatation of the brachial artery, cholesterol, oxidised low density lipoprotein, B-type natriuretic peptide and heart rate turbulence were measured at baseline, 8 weeks and 16 weeks. 58 patients were randomised. Mean age was 67 years, mean baseline blood pressure 128/72 mmHg, mean baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D level was 38 nmol/L. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were higher in the intervention group at 8 weeks compared to placebo (54 vs 42 nmol/L, P = 0.002) and remained higher at 16 weeks. Office systolic and diastolic blood pressure showed no significant change between groups at 8 weeks (systolic 126.1 vs 131.3 mmHg; adjusted P = 0.97); (diastolic 73.1 vs 74.9 mmHg, adjusted P = 0.15). Flow mediated dilatation was significantly higher in the intervention group at 8 weeks (6.9% vs 3.7%, adjusted P = 0.007) but was not significantly different at 16 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS: High dose oral vitamin D supplementation did not improve blood pressure but produced short-term improvement in endothelial function in stroke patients with well-controlled baseline blood pressure.