Medical Moment: The benefits of vitamin D

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 7:08 PM EST
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(WNDU) - New research gives strong evidence that vitamin D deficiency can lead to an early death.

It’s waking people up to the importance of making sure they’re getting enough, even in winter. But so many people are suffering from not enough vitamin D, that some experts call it an invisible epidemic.

No need to fear, as there are plenty of ways to get enough.

It’s no secret that Vitamin D is critical to balancing many areas of health. From pediatric broken bones to cluster headaches, physicians and scientists are still learning just how powerful the “sunshine vitamin” is, especially when it comes to fighting viruses.

“The main effect that we’re talking about in Vitamin D really has to do with the immune system itself in just fighting off the virus rather than counteracting some of these things, such as blood clotting and reversing low oxygen levels,” explained Ivan Castro, MD.

“We know that in our patients’ specimens that were removed and put into tissue culture, vitamin D shuts down the stromal cells,” said Jeffrey Drebin, MD, chair of the department of surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

A person can get vitamin D in three ways: through the skin, from their diet, and from medically prescribed supplements.

The National Institutes of Health recommends 400 international units of vitamin D for newborns up to 12 months, 600 for children and adults up to 70 years old, as well as breastfeeding women, and 800 international units for adults 71 and up.

For people who are very close to the normal vitamin D level, which is 30, experts recommend adding more vitamin D to your diet.

“For example, mushrooms, salmon, halibut, herring,” Dr. Castro explained. “Milk is fortified with vitamin D, eggs, that sort of thing.”

The bottom line? Vitamin D is vital for your life!