Vitamin D- the sunshine vitamin- is one of nature’s most potent and readily available nutri-ceutical. Its manifold benefits make it essential for health. The article excerpted below offers compelling research.

Worldwide, an estimated 1 billion people have inadequate levels of vitamin D in their blood, and deficiencies can be found in all ethnicities and age groups.   Indeed, in industrialized countries, doctors are even seeing the resurgence of rickets, the bone-weakening disease that had been largely eradicated through vitamin D fortification.

Why are these widespread vitamin D deficiencies of such great concern? Because research conducted over the past decade suggests that vitamin D plays a much broader disease-fighting role than once thought.

Being “D-ficient” may increase the risk of a host of chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, some cancers, and multiple sclerosis, as well as infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and even the seasonal flu.

Currently, there’s scientific debate about how much vitamin D people need each day. The Institute of Medicine, in a long-awaited report released on November 30, 2010 recommends tripling the daily vitamin D intake for children and adults in the U.S. and Canada, to 600 IU per day. The report also recognized the safety of vitamin D by increasing the upper limit from 2,000 to 4,000 IU per day, and acknowledged that even at 4,000 IU per day, there was no good evidence of harm. The new guidelines, however, are overly conservative about the recommended intake, and they do not give enough weight to some of the latest science on vitamin D and health. For bone health and chronic disease prevention, many people are likely to need more vitamin D than even these new government guidelines recommend.

Source:  Vitamin D and Health.” By Harvard University School of Public Health.