The Cleveland Clinic:
In addition to the information below from various sources of medical material, the Cleveland Clinic lists these Vitamin D benefits:
Many researchers believe that vitamin D may inhibit cancer’s cell division, prevent heart attacks and strokes, calm the pain of arthritis, and preserve thinking and memory in the elderly. Vitamin D also may prevent hypertension during pregnancy, help prevent diabetes by maintaining insulin levels, increase muscle strength and coordination, and even prevent and help treat multiple sclerosis.
Today more physicians are checking their patients’ vitamin D levels, and more patients are supplementing their vitamin D intake. The currently accepted normal range is 30 to 80 nanograms per milliliter.
(The Well: We need to mention a couple of significant benefits omitted from their list: Vitamin D is proven to help treat depression; particularly depression related to the winter season when there is less sunllight: Seasonal Affective Disorder ('S.A.D. Syndrome'), plus it directly affects thyroid gland function and health.
Also [August, 2010], nutritional authorities, and physicians who stay current on Vitamin D research and updated materials, are advocating from 60 to 80 nanograms per milliliter rather than the 30 to 80 cited by Cleveland Clinic.)
From various sources:
In the U.S., vitamin D is added to the national milk supply. Other good food sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon and sardines.
Along with being a proven benefit to strong teeth and bones. Vitamin D has been gaining a reputation most recently as the "rock star" of vitamins for its newly-discovered indications for treating Parkinson's disease, for heart disease, breast cancer and a number of other women's cancers.
Due to this increasing evidence of its benefits in fighting off a variety of conditions, in October 2008 the American Academy of Pediatrics doubled its recommendation for the minimum amount of vitamin D from 200 to 400 UI for infants, children, and teens.
Watch for US recommendations for adult dosages to be officially increased, as well, in the near future.
From the common cold to cancer preventative
Perhaps one of the most important health benefits of vitamin D is its role in cancer prevention. One study showed that those who take 1000 IUs of vitamin D a day had a 77% reduced chance of developing cancer. Another study showed that there is a clear difference in cancer rates between countries rated as generally sunny versus those rated as generally cloudy. Vitamin D, which is produced by the skin in reaction to the sun, caused people in sunny countries to have reduced cancer rates.
Canada has taken this new information to heart, and the government there officially recommends that everyone take 1000 IU's daily of vitamin D during the fall and winter months.
In fact, it has been suggested that cancer patients who have surgery during the summer months have a better chance of beating their cancer because they are exposed to more sunlight during the critical recovery time than those who have surgery during winter and fall months.
One of the reasons vitamin D supplementation is so important is because a great many people are vitamin D deficient. And one of the main symptoms of vitamin D deficiency is an increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease. Those who are vitamin D deficient have a 62% greater risk of developing some form of cardiovascular disease, which makes getting enough vitamin D a crucial step towards maintaining overall health.
As more studies are conducted on vitamin D's various benefits, more evidence points to the nutrient's role in reducing or minimizing symptoms of asthma and even the common cold and flu, as well.
There are several ways to get your daily intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced naturally by the skin in reaction to the sun, so moderate sun exposure during hours when the sun isn't at its peak is a perfectly healthy way to get the daily vitamin D requirement. Vitamin D is also a cheap, widely available vitamin supplement, and it occurs naturally in fish oils and various fatty fishes.
More facts & information about Vitamin D around the Web:
Around the Web, check out more information on Vitamin D including its benefits, suggested food sources, and risks of deficiency and overdose...
About Vitamin D - Comprehensive information on the vitamin with an historical overview, its chemistry and biochemistry, facts on its manufacture, nutritional benefits, causes and symptoms of deficiency, related references.
Vitamin D - Facts on the vitamin's benefit in increasing calcium absorption with good food sources and supplements, recommended daily allowance by age level, with additional information on calcium supplements.
Dietary Supplement Factsheet : Vitamin D - Good overview leading to a detailed discussion on sources, recommended intake, dangers of deficienty or overdose, current issues and controversies surrounding vitamin D, with tips on dietary sources and related references.
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Vitamin D - Functions and benefits, suggested food sources, causes and symptoms of deficiency.