In comparison to those with higher levels of the "sunshine vitamin", adults with low blood levels of vitamin D are 26 percent more likely to suffer a premature death, say researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
In this new study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 13,331 adults had their blood levels of vitamin D tracked for an average of 8.7 years. During the study, 1,806 people suffered premature deaths from heart disease, cancer or other diseases.
Low blood levels of vitamin D were linked to a higher risk of death from all causes including heart disease, breast and colon cancers, type 2 diabetes, and tuberculosis.
Scientists believe low blood levels of vitamin D may be a distinct and separate risk factor for death from heart disease, along with better known risk factors such as family history, high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Previous research has shown that Vitamin D helps lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
The body makes vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight, however, many Canadians get too little vitamin D from sun exposure, especially in the winter.
For this reason, milk, soy beverages, margarine, butter, and some brands of orange juice are fortified with vitamin D. Other food sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, or herring.
The Canadian Cancer Society recommends 1,000 IU (international units) of the vitamin D daily during the fall and winter months. Older adults, people with dark skin, those who don't go outdoors often, and those who wear clothing that covers most of their skin should take the supplement all year round.
To determine the dose of vitamin D you need to take, add up how much you're already getting from your multivitamin and calcium supplements. Choose a vitamin D supplement that contains vitamin D-3, instead of vitamin D-2 which is less potent.
Learn about Medcan's Elements Daily Packs which provides vitamin D along with calcium, magnesium, a multivitamin and omega-3 fatty acids.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.