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Vitamin D Supplements: New Studies Suggest They Could Provide Important Health Benefits

Oct 26, 2007
Vitamin D is a vitamin found in food, and it can also be produced by your body after you are out in the sun. Supplements can also be effective in helping you get the vitamin D you need and prevent deficiency. There are many reasons you should consider making sure you are getting enough vitamin D; in fact it seems like each day there is a new discovery regarding this particular vitamin.

There are several benefits that are known for sure: Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption which helps you maintain strong bones, and it also helps to maintain your immune system. While these are important benefits themselves, there are other exciting potential benefits that are just being discovered. Recent studies suggest that vitamin D may help protect you against some cancers, and possibly reverse heart disease. In addition, there is an emerging opinion that vitamin D supplements may reduce symtoms of anxiety and depression, with a particularly strong effect on women who suffer anxiety with PMS and anyone who gets depressed during the winter months. (Reference information regarding these studies can be provided if you contact the author of this article).

There are three ways you can ensure you are getting enough vitamin D. First, there are direct food sources, such as fortified milk, large fish like salmon and tuna, many breakfast cereals, and egg yolk. However, if you don't consume the fish, it is actually very difficult to get enough vitamin D from another source. For example, most milk is fortified to the degree that you'd have to have 10 cups to get your daily allowance. Second, your body produces vitamin D when you are in the sun, though it doesn't work when you are wearing sunscreen (though it is still important to use sunscreen to prevent cancer and other problems due to sun exposure). You should check this with your doctor, but it is known that a short exposure to the sun, even as little as 10 minutes allows the process of vitamin D production to start. The third way you can get vitamin D is through over the counter pills or supplements.

Vitamin D supplements may be most beneficial for you if you are in any of the following groups, all of who could be prone to vitamin d deficiency:

- Infrequent exposure to the sun or you must wear sun block almost all the time
- Lactose intolerant, or just don't enjoy milk or drink a lot of it
- Very sensitive to the sun and/or wear sun block
- Live far north of the equator, like New England in the US.
- Don't eat much large fish, perhaps due to concerns about mercury content
- Older adults (50 and over) are less able to produce and/or synthesize vitamin D
- Some medical conditions - consult with your doctor

There are serious health risks if you take too many vitamin D supplements. Read the container they come in carefully and consult with your doctor if it is at all unclear. Most supplements are very clear about the usual adult dose, so it should be easy for you to start a vitamin D supplementation regimen today.
About the Author
For more information about vitamin D in general, vitamin d deficiency, d supplements and sources, please see http://www.dsupplements.com
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