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Are You Deficient in Vitamin D This Winter?

Posted Dec 02 2009 12:00am

Now that winter is here many Americans will be deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D can be obtained from the diet, often through foods such as milk, but those sources are rarely adequate, experts say. Most people get the bulk of this fat-soluble vitamin from the UV-B radiation in sun exposure, which naturally causes the skin to produce it. In the winter with less available sunshine, many people become deficient. Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin to overall health. It was thought for years that it just made bones strong and prevented rickets. New evidence shows that:

  • Low levels of circulating vitamin D are associated with increased risk and mortality from cancer.
  • Vitamin D plays an important role in activating the immune system, and may help control autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • It can profoundly boost the innate immune system, and could form the basis for new therapies to combat pathogenic infections.
  • Epidemiological studies show a link between vitamin D deficiency and increased rates of respiratory infection and influenza, and it has been hypothesized that flu epidemics may be the result of vitamin D deficiency.
  • Higher levels of a protein linked to vitamin D have been associated with reduced infections and longer survival of dialysis patients.
  • Vitamin D has important roles in reducing inflammation, blood pressure and helping to protect against heart disease.

If you don’t get enough Vitamin D through your diet, speak to your doctor or a nutritionist about how much you should be taking in.

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