Old and New News about Vitamin D Benefits
D Is Versatile
The Archives of Internal Medicine just (July, 2010) published a report describing the link between low levels of vitamin D and poor cognitive function in the elderly and Parkinson's disease.
Previously, low levels of D have been linked with depression and colon cancer risk. As everyone knows, D aids in the absorption of calcium, so is important in ostoeporosis prevention.
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to higher risk of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and type 2 diabetes.
High vitamin D levels may lower risk of colds and flu.
Vitamin D may help osteoarthritis by preventing the breakdown of cartilage.
As of March 2014, vitamin D is associated with better survival rates from breast cancer and, in conjunction with calcium, healthier cholesterol profiles in post menopausal women.
A 2014 study in the journal "Pain", was small, but placebo-controlled, and showed a decrease in pain and fatigue among folks with fibromyalgia.
Research is being done to see if vitamin D affects multiple sclerosis, gum disease, seasonal affective disorder, TB, breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers, and other illnesses.
Dosage recommendations vary from 400 IU to 2000 IU per day. Over 2000 IU is toxic, over time causing nausea, vomitting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. Many sources suggest 800 IU to 1000 IU per day. The older you are, the higher your D dose should be. Make sure you are getting D3 (cholecalciferol). D2 is not as potent. Taking D with a meal that includes a little (healthy) fat aids absorption of this fat-soluble vitamin.
Check with your doctor about the best dose for you.
Addendum: As of 6/6/11, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 1000IU per day for people with darker skin, older adults, and those who are not exposed to adequate sunlight on a daily basis.
Few foods contain vitamin D, so a supplement is recommended.