A wave of new research shows vitamin D deficiency increases certain health risks, such as colon cancer, heart disease among men, and asthma in children.
Health experts often ask questions "Have you had your milk today? Have you spent a few minutes outside?"
If not, new research shows you may be at greater risk for ailments other than weak bones.
Joanna Fusch knows the risk first hand. She was diagnosed with colon cancer last year. A blood test showed a severe vitamin D deficiency.
Her husband, Dr. Charles Fusch, researched vitamin D deficiency. His study showed that vitamin D deficient colon cancer patients are almost twice as likely to die within 10 years of diagnosis.
"These findings make considerable sense because
in the laboratory, vitamin D reduces the growth of colon cancer cells, and prevents its spread to other organs."
A person generally receives vitamin D from two sources: vitamin-fortified milk and exposure to the sun. Experts have long said vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, necessary for strong bones. Now, research shows even greater benefits from vitamin D. They include a decreased risk of heart attack among men, asthma in children, and Type 1 diabetes.
Dr. Tanya Edwards says. "Vitamin D seems to be very helpful in making your immune system do what its supposed to do."
The government recommends between 2-hundred and 6-hundred international units of vitamin D a day. But some research suggests 8-hundred IUs may give greater protection, especially for those who spend less than 10 minutes a day in the sun.
Doctors say a blood test can detect a deficiency. If found, a simple daily supplement can keep people healthier.