(EXPRESS) — Scientists have found a direct link between a deficiency in vitamin D – caused by lack of exposure to the sun – and hypertension, which also raises the likelihood of stroke and heart attacks.

The worldwide study found that people with high concentrations of the “sunshine vitamin” had reduced blood pressure.

Scientists say there is a “strong case for food fortification with vitamin D to ­prevent some kinds of cardiovascular disease”.

Researchers at University College London carried out a genetic examination of 35 studies involving 155,000 people from across Europe and North America.

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