Despite of all the publicity over recent years about the significant numbers of people shown to be suffering from Vitamin D deficiency, there is still a belief that the only reason we should be increasing our intake of Vitamin D because it makes our bones stronger as is aids the absorption of calcium.

However it has many other benefits in ensuring that we are no longer vitamin D deficient. A recent issue of the Harvard Heart Letter describes research which is strongly advocating the multifaceted health benefits of Vitamin D.

Their report states that vitamin D, in addition to its vital role in preserving bone strength and hence reducing the likelihood of developing osteoporosis, also helps prevent the build-up of calcium in our arteries, decreases the production in our kidneys of renin, a hormone that elevates blood pressure, and could also help strengthen heart contractions.

There are additional health benefits cited by the Harvard Heart Letter including vitamin D’s ability to restrain statin-related muscle pain, and also assist with protecting against infection.

According to the Harvard report, at least one-third of Americans are thought to be vitamin D deficient. Additional research cited also claims that up to 75 per cent of people suffering from cardiovascular disease have been demonstrated to be deficient in vitamin D.

The official current recommendation for daily intake of vitamin D is 400 IU (international units) per day, but a number of experts have recently advised that this recommendation should be increased as more research emerges supporting the benefits of higher daily intake levels.

However there are concerns that many people are not receiving sufficient vitamin D. Recent research claims that seniors could be especially susceptible to this deficiency as their skin generates less of the essential hormone from sunlight as it ages. Coupled with this is the fact that many elderly people, wary of the dangers of skin cancer, are covering up to a far greater extent when they are outdoors hence reducing significantly the amount of skin exposed to sunlight. People with darker skin pigmentation also tend to generate less.

Getting more sunlight does help boost vitamin D levels, but the safest way is to take a daily supplement that provides 800 to 1000 IU per day.

The Harvard report advises people to check with their physician for testing for vitamin D levels. This blood test measures the levels of hydroxylvitamin D in the blood – which is the biologically inactive form which the kidneys will later convert into the active vitamin D chemical.

If the results of your blood test show that you have over 30 nanograms of vitamin 25-hydroxylvitamin D per millilitre of blood, you have an adequate level of vitamin D but if your test results demonstrates a level of less than 20, you have a serious deficiency and your physician will very likely prescribe additional supplementation.

Author's Bio: 

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