If you had been watching me wade through my daily stack of research reading the other day, you’d have spotted me do one heck of a double take.

Wondering what the line that caught my eye was?

“Our data suggest vitamin D may be involved in maintaining the health of the immune system as well as the skeletal system.”  This remarkable “confession” was spoken by Dr. Mary Ward, one of the author’s on a new study on D that’s been accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Now, there’s no denying the importance of vitamin D. There’s even a stack of research proving the critical role it plays in our health from fighting off respiratory infections to keeping you out of a nursing home… if you know where to look for it, of course. (Hint, it’s not in the mainstream media, but you can start with a search in the NorthStar Blog’s archives.)

Be sure to get your D!

But it’s still quite rare to see such a straightforward conclusion about the significance a vitamin plays in keeping us healthy, from such a mainstream, source.

In this case, Irish researchers completed an observational study on 957 adults who were at least 60 years old. They found that those volunteers who were vitamin D deficient had significantly higher biomarkers for inflammation.

And that’s important, because these biomarkers are linked to heart disease and other inflammatory conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

So what does this all mean to you and me? I’ll let Dr. Ward explain, “The results indicate immune function may be compromised in older individuals with vitamin D deficiency.”

In other words, be sure to get your D!

To raise your vitamin D levels, I recommend spending more time outside. But since many of us can’t—or don’t—get all the D we need from sunshine alone I also generally recommend taking up to 5000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. A blood test can help you, and your doc, figure out what’s right for you.