You all know how I feel about vitamin D–I think supplementing with it is essential to good health. Vitamin D is necessary for bone growth and maintenance, proper immune function, and the regulation of many important metabolic functions like sugar regulation and parathyroid function. Now new findings suggest that vitamin D may protect against peripheral arterial disease.

Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, is a disease of the blood vessels where blood flow is diminished due to hardening of the arterial walls which leads to narrowing or occlusion of the vessel. Diminished blood flow of PAD occurs most often in the leg and can lead to cramping, numbness and discoloration. Left untreated it could eventually lead to amputation.

The research was based on a government survey of 4,839 adults. Vitamin D levels were measured in the adults, and they found that the people in the lowest 25 percent of vitamin D levels were 80 percent more likely to have PAD than those in the highest 25 percent. Hmmm…very interesting.

It might be a little premature to make the connection between high vitamin D levels and a lowered risk of PAD. These findings may simply be due to the people with the highest vitamin D levels were just healthier overall. Perhaps they were regular exercisers, and perhaps they spent a lot of time outdoors. Vitamin D is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Perhaps the group with the highest vitamin D levels eat well and perhaps some of them take supplements. These are all things which would need to be distinguished in a more specific research project. But these recent results are encouraging. Hey, I wouldn’t be surprised. Vitamin D is amazing; and there are probably many other health benefits that we don’t know of yet with some known vitamins and nutrients. I take vitamin D supplements regularly and so should you. If these findings regarding PAD are found to be correct, then you’ll be ahead of the game.

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