The New York Times has called Vitamin D “Nutrient of the Decade.” High praise for a vitamin that until lately was largely ignored by most people. After all, the sun and milk provides all the “D” you need, right? Wrong. New research has cast doubt on the adequacy of recommended levels of vitamin D. These recommendations were largely based on the amount of D it would take to prevent rickets in children. It turn out that vitamin D is a major factor in numerous other aspects of metabolism. In fact, one researcher has stated that vitamin D is a co-factor in perhaps 200 different important metabolic processes.
Vitamin D deficiency is common in the United States and other countries in the northern latitudes because they have less exposure to the sun and tend to spend more time indoors. And older adults are naturally at risk for vitamin D deficiency because their skin cannot synthesize the vitamin as efficiently as when they were younger. Spending time out in the sun is a good way to make more vitamin D – as long as you don’t overdo it. Exchanging vitamin D deficiency for skin cancer is not a good trade-off. And getting vitamin D from your diet isn’t easy because very few foods contain it.
New research strongly indicates that people with a deficiency in D are at increased risk for stroke, heart disease and death. The study of a group of over 27,000 people aged 50 and older (with no history of cardiovascular disease) showed that after less than two years, people with very low levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to have died or suffered a stroke than people with normal vitamin D levels. Plus, they developed more coronary artery disease and were twice as likely to develop heart failure.
In addition to its link to thin, brittle or misshapen bones, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to multiple sclerosis (MS), high rates of influenza infection in winter, cancer, type 1 and type 2 diabetes and premature aging, among many others. And vitamin D has also been associated with healthy hair follicle growth cycles.
If you are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, breastfeeding, taking any medication or have a medical condition, please consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplement. Keep out of reach of children. Store in a cool, dry place. Do not use product if outer bottle seal is missing, torn or damaged in any way.