Vitamin D – the fat-soluble vitamin primarily obtained through sun exposure – is getting superstar attention.
The beneficial results from recent research and testing of vitamin D are astounding. Originally prescribed only by nutritionists for maintaining bone health and overshadowed by recent health fads like pomegranate juice and the açai berry, recent research suggests vitamin D can decrease the risk of common killers that include cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and pneumonia. In fact, one Finnish study followed 1200 children for 30 years and found the children who took a 2000 IU vitamin D every day had an 80% reduced risk of developing Type 1 diabetes.
Despite the many benefits, an estimated 75% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. Populations close to the equator appear less deficient than those further away and darker skin requires more sun exposure to synthesize vitamin D.
Prolonged deficiency of this nutrient can have serious consequences. A report from Canada found the cost in human mortality would fall by 37,000 deaths annually if Canadians increased vitamin D levels.
Scientists still can’t agree on an optimum vitamin D dose. For years, the Federal Drug Administration has recommended 200 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per day from infancy to age 50. Most researchers agree this number is outdated and speculate between 1000 and 2000 IU per day would be a beneficial daily dose.
For more detailed information about vitamin D research and links to vitamin D-related articles, visit our Vitamin D resource page.
Brody, Jane E. “What Do You Lack? Probably Vitamin D.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 26 July 2010. Web. 28 July 2010.
Elina, Hypponen. “Intake of Vitamin D and Risk of Type I Diabetes: A Birth-Cohort Study.” Search Journal. The Lancet, 3 Nov. 2001. Web. 28 July 2010.
Grant, W. B. “An Estimate of the Economic Burden and Premature Deaths Due to Vitamin D Deficiency in Canada.” PubMed.com. U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 29 Mar. 2010. Web. 28 July 2010.
“Vitamin D ‘reduces Risk of Diabetes’” BBC News – Home. 2 Nov. 2001. Web. 28 July 2010.