[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Seventy-five percent of teens and adults in the United States have deficiencies of vitamin D, known as the “Sunshine Vitamin.” This is a stunning increase in the rates of vitamin D deficiency from forty-five percent between 1988 and 1994. At the same time, new research indicates that these deficiencies in vitamin D raise the risks for a broad spectrum of disease – including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Vitamin D is known to promote calcium absorption, is required for bone growth, prevents rickets in children and — with calcium — helps protect older adults from osteoporosis. Insufficient vitamin D causes bones to become thin, brittle, or misshapen. It also modulates cell growth, neuromuscular and immune functions, and reduces inflammation.
The new research, which appeared in the journal BMJ, is authored by a team of scientists from Harvard, Oxford and other universities found that adults with low levels of vitamin D have a 35 percent higher risk of death from heart disease, and a 14 percent greater likelihood of death from cancer. The scientists also found that approximately 13 percent of all deaths in the United States, and 9 percent in Europe, are linked to to low vitamin D levels. In another new study, researchers at Stanford and several universities also concluded there is evidence that high vitamin D levels protect against diabetes, stroke, hypertension and many illnesses.
Vitamin D is known as the the sunshine nutrient because is produced in the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. However, be sure to maintain a moderate amount of sun exposure to avoid the risk of skin aging and skin cancer. Vitamin D can also be be included in the diet with a small array of foods.
Add vitamin D to your nutritional regimen with:
• Cod liver oil: 1 tablespoon gives 1,360 IU of you daily needs
• Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
• Canned tuna or sardines
• Egg yolks
• Fortified dairy products
• Swiss Cheese
Keep in mind, blood levels of vitamin D are lowered by smoking, obesity and inflammation. Moderate sun, vitamin D-rich foods and a healthy lifestyle are your best bet!
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