Vitamin D helps protect the heart from metabolic syndrome

Nearly everyone needs more vitamin D. But if you're suffering from metabolic syndrome, you really need this stuff.

Proper D levels have been shown to help control blood sugar and even help keep your metabolic syndrome from turning into diabetes. And now, the latest research shows it can even save your life -- not bad for a nutrient you can get for free by simply standing outside under the sun.

Researchers used data from 1,801 patients with metabolic syndrome who were tracked for an average of 7.7 years as part of a larger study.

Just 8 percent of them had optimal levels of D, which the researchers considered to be 75 nmol/L, while nearly three times as many -- 22 percent -- were severely deficient.

Not surprisingly, those with optimal levels were in much better shape. They were 66 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease and 75 percent less likely to die of any cause.

But you don't need to wait for metabolic syndrome to kick in to boost your D levels -- because the sunshine vitamin can help protect you from even getting the condition in the first place. One study in 2009 found that people with low D levels are 52 percent more likely to get metabolic syndrome than those with optimal levels.

That's a handy trick in a time when metabolic syndrome is raging out of control -- but that's not all D can do. Proper D levels can protect the brain and slash your risk of dementia. The sunshine vitamin can also strengthen bone, protect the heart, lift your mood, and slash your risk of cancer.

It can even prevent the cold and flu -- and help you overcome the illnesses if you do happen to catch them.

The best way to get your D is right from the source: Spend a few minutes a day outside under the sun.

That's a lot easier said than done these days -- so get a quality D supplement and take it every day to make sure you really get what you need.