Saturday, April 05, 2008

Disability, Cancer, and Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that has long been linked to strong bones. Your skin produces it naturally when exposed to healthy amounts of sunlight and although some milk and fortified cereals offer low levels of Vitamin D, it is not possible to get enough through food. Sunlight is the major source. Supplements are thought to help, but the jury is still out on whether supplements can supply enough vitamin D.

It’s long been known that a deficiency in Vitamin D can cause depression, but several different studies suggest it may also increase risk of diabetes, heart attack, cancer and even multiple sclerosis. In fact, it’s being suggested that vitamin D, long associated with mood, is an important vitamin throughout the body and is vital for the immune system. In addition, recent studies have linked low levels of vitamin D to breast cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer and colon cancer.

Other studies have found that those with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to have a stroke, heart failure and heart attack, while children are more likely to develop asthma and pregnant women are more likely to have preeclampsia.

These studies are piling up and certainly point to the fact that vitamin D is much more important than we have suspected.

Unfortunately, our fear of too much sunlight and skin cancer adds to the vitamin D deficiency rates.

While some health experts are recommending people megadose on vitamin D supplements, most experts are still recommending good old-fashioned sunshine.

Exposing your legs and arms to summer sun for a mere 15 minutes can generate more than enough daily vitamin D.

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