It's probably the smallest pill in your kitchen cabinet. But it's also one of the most important. In fact, for the first time ever, scientists have conducted a "meta-analysis" of this vitamin. This means that scientists gathered data from dozens of different studies. Then, they combined the results to give us "the big picture."
And the results were spectacular. They revealed that in fact, this one tiny vitamin might be the best protection you've got against the "big three" killers: Stroke, Heart Attack, and Diabetes.
Gold mine found hidden among 28 different studies
Scientists analyzed the blood work from 28 different studies involving 100,000 men and women and they found that one vitamin made all the difference. As it turns out men and women with plenty of vitamin D in their blood remained much healthier than their counterparts did.
In fact, this group of men and women reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 33 percent. And don't forget that CVD is an umbrella term. So this actually means that they cut their risk of arthrosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke by 33 percent.
And that's not all...
These men and women also reduced their risk of developing type-2 diabetes by a whopping 55 percent!
But results didn't stop there!
Scientists further discovered that this same group never developed a collection of symptoms known as "metabolic syndrome" - also known as syndrome X.
How does all of this fit together?
Metabolic syndrome often precedes the "big three" killers. It refers to a group of symptoms that increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, and type-2 diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, you have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of the following symptoms:
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar levels (when fasting)
- Large waist circumference
- Low HDL cholesterol
- High triglycerides
Almost 75 million men and women in the U.S. have these symptoms. And, therefore, they're at serious risk of stroke, heart attack, and diabetes.
But I'll tell you who doesn't have metabolic syndrome: the men and women from the study with an abundance of vitamin D in their blood. They reduced their risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 51 percent.
What's your number?
Clearly, vitamin D is essential to preventing disease. And hopefully, you've had your vitamin D levels recently checked. If not, ask your doc for the blood test. Ideally, you want your levels between 50-70 ng/mL.
If your levels are lower than that, you should consider taking a vitamin D supplement. Anyone living in the northern part of the U.S. should also consider taking one, due to the lack of sunshine. I usually recommend taking up to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 (the form of D most easily absorbed in the body) daily, especially in the winter months.
You can also get vitamin D into your diet by eating more eggs (naturally found in yolks), liver, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines. For example, just one serving of wild sockeye salmon contains almost 1,000 IU of vitamin D.
Don't be a guinea pig
In closing, I'd like to give you a warning. There's a major government-sponsored study on vitamin D in the works. It's called the Vital Study. Scientists are currently recruiting 20,000 men and women to take part.
According to a recent New York Times article, scientists in this study seek to discover "whether high doses of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids from fish-oil supplements will lower risk for heart disease and cancer."
Sounds great at first blush. But here's the problem: Half of the participants will take either a D3 supplement or a fish oil supplement for five years. Not both. Or, you can be one of the really unlucky folks assigned to the placebo group. If that's the case, you'll be taking a sugar pill for the next five years! The problem is, to maintain optimum health; you need both of these essential nutrients.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for scientific research, especially on vitamins. And it will be very interesting to see the outcomes of the Vital Study. But I just wouldn't recommend you sacrifice your own good health to prove a point. Let someone else be the guinea pig.