We all think of Vitamin D as “the sunshine vitamin”, something that’s good for your bones and as a supplement in milk. It turns out that this humble vitamin may have a whole lot more going for it.
A number of scientific studies have been looking at the links between Vitamin D deficiency and various disease states, and the results are quite startling.
Low or deficient Vitamin D levels have been found in association with:
– obesity & pre-diabetes,
– heart disease and stroke,
– metabolic syndrome,
– high blood pressure,
– elevated cholesterol,
– neurodegenerative diseases, such as MS and Parkinson’s
– certain forms of cancer,
– seasonal affective disorder (SAD),
– some autoimmune diseases.
Now, before you get too excited, association is not the same as “the cause”. It’s like saying red paint is found in association with fast Italian sports cars…it doesn’t mean that the paint makes the car go faster, right? Similarly, taking supplements has not yet been proven to bestow these health benefits…but the linkage is extremely interesting. Many experts now feel that the recommended daily dose of vitamin D should be increased, but opinions vary on what the new level should be.
Studies are now underway, however, to investigate this very point – and in particular, whether vitamin D supplementation (2000 units per day) can result in measurable health benefits.
If there is a causal connection, Vitamin D supplements, which are cheap, widely available, and have few side effects, could be a big player in health optimization.
Nice write-up also in the New York Times (link)