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Insufficient 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels are associated with high resting blood pressure (BP). However, the relationship between 25(OH)D and the peak systolic BP (SBP) response to exercise, a predictor of future hypertension, has yet to be investigated. We sought to examine the relationship among serum 25(OH)D and the peak SBP response to a graded exercise stress test (GEST) among a large sample (n = 417) of healthy men (49%) and women (51%) over a broad age range (20–76 years; mean age: 44.1 ± 0.8 years). We hypothesized that individuals with clinically insufficient 25(OH)D would have a greater peak SBP response to a GEST compared to individuals with sufficient 25(OH)D levels. Fasting serum 25(OH)D, anthropometrics, resting BP, and peak exercise SBP were obtained at the baseline visit of a larger clinical trial (STOMP; NCT01140308). Mean 25(OH)D levels were 36.1 ± 0.7 ng/ml, with ∼35% of individuals classified as insufficient (<30 ng/ml). Average resting BP was 119 ± 13 mmHg/75 ± 10 mmHg, with 52.3% considered to have normal BP, while 25.2% had elevated BP and 22.5% had established hypertension. The peak SBP response to a GEST was similar between individuals with sufficient (48 ± 19 mmHg) versus insufficient (48 ± 18 mmHg) 25(OH)D (p = 1.000). One unexpected finding emerged such that individuals with sufficient 25(OH)D had higher resting SBP (120 ± 14 mmHg vs. 117 ± 13 mmHg; p = .020) than individuals with insufficient 25(OH)D. In contrast to our hypothesis, 25(OH)D levels were not associated with the peak SBP response to a GEST. Baseline 25(OH)D levels were positively correlated with resting SBP; however, the magnitude of this effect is likely not clinically meaningful.
Zaleski is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Taylor, Armstrong, Puglisi, White, and Pescatello are with the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Zaleski, Taylor, White, and Thompson are with Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT. Clarkson and Chipkin are with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. P. Clarkson is now deceased.