The relation between the plasma level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, the main metabolite of sun-induced vitamin D, and myocardial infarction (MI) was investigated in a community-based case-control study.

Some 179 MI patients presenting to hospital within 12 hours of the onset of symptoms were individually matched with controls by age, sex and date of blood collection. MI patients had significantly lower mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels than controls (32.0 versus 35.5 nmol/L; p = 0.017), with the case-control differences being greatest in winter and spring.

The relative risk of MI for subjects with 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels equal to or above the median was 0.43 (95% confidence limits = 0.27, 0.69) compared to subjects below the median. The decrease in MI risk associated with raised vitamin D3 levels was observed in all seasons.

These results provide support for the hypothesis that increased exposure to sunlight is protective against coronary heart disease.