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Vitamin D - Ergocalciferol

Yet Vitamin D appears important to our immune systems. A Vitamin D receptor is expressed by most cells in the immune system of our bodies. This includes t-cells and antigen-presenting cells, dendritic cells and macrophages. It boosts our immune response to infections while helping to prevent autoimmunity.

Studies suggest that Vitamin D protects us against breast, prostate and colon cancer. In 2005 CANCER RESEARCH published a study showing that men exposed to lots of sunlight had only half the risk of prostate cancer. The prostate uses Vitamin D to promote the growth of healthy cells, inhibiting the spread and invasiveness of any cancer cells. Vitamin D may also protect against lung cancer.

Vitamin D may also help protect us from cardiovascular disease. It can lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients. A 2002 study by the University of California San Francisco found that women over the age of 65 who took Vitamin D were nearly one-third less likely to die of heart disease.

In 2004 NEUROLOGY published a study on 190,000 woman showing that those who took Vitamin D supplement were 40% less likely to develop multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin D boosts our absorption of calcium, and using calcium and phosphorus, thus protecting our bones. It also helps keep our muscles strong. And it's necessary for healthy functioning of our thyroid and pituitary glands.

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms include softening of the bones, rickets in children, bowed legs, and knock knees.

Natural sources include cod liver oil, liver and egg yolks. However, the main source is the action of sunlight on our skin. Yes, that very same sunlight we're told is evil. You need some. How much is a debatable topic.

The farther you live from the equator, the more sunlight you need because it's weaker. The closer you are to sea level, the more you need. And from November through April you need as much as you can get, because it's weakest during those months.

Of course, use common sense and don't damage your skin with a sun burn.

The best Vitamin D supplement is probably cod liver oil, nasty as it tastes. Otherwise, take it in a high quality multivitamin.

Don't take more than 1,000 IU a day. That may cause high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, bone deterioration and kidney damage. As always, use common sense.

And don't take Vitamin C if you're taking antacids or high blood pressure diuretics such as HCTZ.

By: Richard Stooker

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