Cheat death with this vitamin

Sometimes, improving your health can be tricky business -- whether it's giving up smoking, learning to eat right, or trying to take up exercise after years of being sedentary.

But other times it's a lot easier -- as simple as popping a single pill every day, and I'm not talking about a drug.

Plain old vitamin D can help protect your bones, brain, heart, muscle, immune system, and more -- and now, a new study confirms it can even protect against death itself.

Not a bad trick for such a simple, safe, and often overlooked nutrient.

Researchers from Oregon State University looked at data on more than 4,300 older folks who took part in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and broke them down into four groups -- including one group that had less than 50 nanograms per milliliter of vitamin D in the blood.

And it turned out those low-D folks were 30 percent more likely to die during the 12-year study than those with higher levels.

The researchers also found that low D increased the risk of frailty -- no surprise since, like I said, D is essential to bone and muscle.

Frailty on its own doubled the risk of death. But frailty combined with low levels of D actually tripled it, according to the study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study doesn't prove that low D causes frailty or death, but the evidence for this has been building for years as other studies have reached similar conclusions.

Besides, you need vitamin D anyway -- and yet, if you're like most people, you're probably not getting nearly enough. In fact, some 70 percent of Americans suffer from low D levels, which is a crying shame when it's easy enough to get.

Just step outside -- because your body makes it from sunlight.

Of course, the sun is a double-edged sword. Too much can cause sunburn and even cancer -- so along with a little safe outdoors time each day, be sure to take a D supplement.

They're easy to find, available over the counter and inexpensive. Talk to your holistic doctor about how much you need.