Atherosclerotic occlusive diseases and aneurysms that affect large and medium-sized arteries outside the cardiac and cerebral circulation are collectively known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD). With a rise in the rate of aging population worldwide, the number of people diagnosed with PAD is rapidly increasing. The micronutrient vitamin D is an important steroid hormone that acts on many crucial cellular mechanisms. Experimental studies suggest that optimal levels of vitamin D have beneficial effects on the heart and blood vessels; however, high vitamin D concentrations have been implicated in promoting vascular calcification and arterial stiffness. Observations from various clinical studies shows that deficiency of vitamin D has been associated with a greater risk of PAD. Epidemiological studies have often reported an inverse relation between circulating vitamin D status measured in terms of 25-hydroxivitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and increased cardiovascular disease risk; however, randomized controlled trials did not show a consistent positive effect of vitamin D supplementation on cardiovascular disease risk or events. Even though PAD shares all the major risk factors with cardiovascular diseases, the effect of vitamin D deficiency in PAD is not clear. Current evidence suggests a strong role of vitamin D in promoting genomic and epigenomic changes. This review summarises the current literature that supports the notion that vitamin D deficiency may promote PAD formation. A better understanding of underlying pathological mechanisms will open up new therapeutic possibilities which is the main unmet need in PAD management. Furthermore, epigenetic evidence shows that a more holistic approach towards PAD prevention that incorporates a healthy lifestyle, adequate exercise and optimal nutrition may be more effective in protecting the genome and maintaining a healthy vasculature.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited