Exciting news out of Finland: Vitamin D may provide protection against type 2 diabetes. In a recent study conducted by the National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, people with higher blood levels of vitamin D had a 40 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with lower levels of the vitamin.

And in another study, vitamin D was shown to lower the risk of developing many cancers. Wow! This study, conducted at Creighton University Medical School in Omaha, Nebraska, looked at 1,179 postmenopausal women who were free of any known cancers 10 years before the study started. The women were separated into three groups; one took calcium supplements, another, calcium supplements plus 1,100 IU vitamin D, and the third took placebo pills. After four years, the group taking the calcium plus vitamin D showed a 60% lower risk of developing cancer. But even more exciting was that after seven years, the risk was lowered by 77%. Booyah!

These finding show the mega-importance of taking a daily vitamin D supplement. According to this and other studies, taking three times the RDA levels of vitamin D3 (much better than the D2 derivative) will provide the beneficial effects. In practical terms it means taking 1,000 IU vitamin D3 every day. As experts point out, though, you never want to take more than 2,000 IU a day, as this can cause liver and kidney damage, among many other problems.

Vitamin D can be found naturally in fish and fish oils, and it is added to milk, cereals and orange juice. But the main source of vitamin D is the sun–ultraviolet rays stimulate the skin to produce vitamin D. Although the American Cancer Society acknowledges the finding “are intriguing”, they are currently cautious about recommending supplementation. Most Americans, however, are deficient in this essential nutrient; and with the concerns about people getting “too much” sun, it stands to reason that supplementation is a must.

Just think, something as simple as supplementing with vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and many cancers (breast, colon and ovarian). In my mind, it’s a no-brainer. And the low cost of supplementation makes it an even more obvious health choice. According to Edward D. Gorham, adjunct professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego and a researcher on two vitamin D/cancer studies, “There’s enough evidence to recommend that people take 1000 IU of vitamin D every day. Doing so would only cost about 5 cents per person per day and could prevent several thousand cancer deaths each year.” If that ain’t enough to get you supplementing, nothing will.

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