Stroke kills millions of people around the world annually, but the number is receding year on year. Despite lower mortality rates, the burden is still growing as a result of ageing populations. Taking action to ameliorate cardiovascular health through diet and exercise can lower the risk of stroke. One vitamin deficiency, common in the UK, may also need amending to lower your risk.
The team were unable to find a reason for this disparity but speculated that it may be because black people are more prone to deficiency due to their skin pigmentation’s ability to block out sun rays.
Erin Michos, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart and Vascular Institute, theorised that black people may have adapted to this deficiency over generations.
“It may be that blacks have adapted over the generations to vitamin D deficiency, so we are not going to see any compounding effects with stroke,” he noted.
“Higher numbers for hypertension and diabetes definitely explain some of the excess risks for stroke in black compared to white but not this much risk.
“Something else is surely behind this problem. However, don’t blame vitamin D deficits for the higher risk of strokes in blacks.”
Separate studies have also noted that the strong association between vitamin D levels and stroke in white people is limited to individuals who are severely deficient.
Other studies have contended that the view that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for stroke is wrong, suggesting that low vitamin D levels are a consequence of a stroke incident instead.
There is other evidence that vitamin D supplements could lower stroke risk and improve recovery.
This is because vitamin D is produced in the skin through the action of sunlight.
So, during the winter months, the nutrient has to be sourced from food.
Eggs, fatty fish, chicken and beef liver are all excellent sources of vitamin D, as are fortified milk, yoghurt and some breakfast cereals.
Daily vitamin D supplementation is recommended for everybody living in the UK during the winter months.