vitamin D supplement

  1. Get some sun to slash your stroke risk

    I can think of about a million reasons to get outside and bask in the sunlight every day -- but if you're looking for one of your own, how about this: It can slash your risk of a stroke.

    The latest research shines some light on stroke risk, with one new study finding that people who live in the nation's sunniest climates have a 60 percent lower risk of stroke than those who live up north.

    The one exception to the rule: The so-called "stroke belt" of the south, where obesity and diabetes -- both big-time stroke risk factors of their own -- are higher than they are in the rest of the country.

    In other words, all the sun in Georgia won't undo the ravages of a double-extra-large waistline.

    But if you're slim, trim and living in Minnesota or Maine, you don't have to lower your latitude to lower your stroke risk -- because you can harness the real power of sunlight anywhere on earth.

    All you need is some vitamin D, as another new study shows again how the sunshine vitamin is the real reason for that lower stroke risk.

    In this one, researchers found that people who had the highest intake of D were 11 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than those with the lowest.

    If that sounds a little... well... unimpressive, that's because the new study didn't offer a real look at D levels. Instead, the researchers used food frequency questionnaires.

    Most people don't get the bulk of their D from food anyway.

    Once you look at real levels of D, you see real benefits -- with other studies showing that low D can boost your stroke risk by up to 50 percent.

    If that's not enough of a benefit, other studies have shown that vitamin D can help protect your heart, bones and brain and slash your risk of colds, the flu, diabetes, allergies and even cancer.

    You can let your body make its own D by stepping out into the sunlight, but unless you live in a warmer climate don't count on that alone. Everything from your clothing to the seasonal angle of the earth can impede D production -- so take a supplement to make sure you get what you need.

  2. Vitamin D can protect against cancer

    Is there anything vitamin D can't do?

    I just told you how the sunshine vitamin can help keep pre-diabetes from turning into the real thing -- and now, a new study finds it might stop melanomas cold.

    Researchers looked at data on 36,282 women between the ages of 50 and 79 who were given either 400 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium, or a placebo, for an average of seven years.

    The study actually didn't reveal a whole lot (more on that in a moment), but one trend stood out: Women on the vitamins who had a prior history of non-melanoma skin cancers had half the risk of melanoma than women who got the placebo.

    The study didn't find any benefit in women without a history of other skin cancers -- and the study didn't include men at all.

    But there's an even bigger problem with this one – and it's that teensy-weensy 400 IU dose of vitamin D, which isn't even close to what you need to boost your health and slash your disease risk.

    Even the Institute of Medicine, which famously lowballed vitamin D just a few months ago, recommends 600 IUs a day -- and mainstream experts agree that number is way too low.

    The Harvard School of Public Health, for example, recommends a minimum of between 1,000 and 2,000 IU per day for most -- and up to 4,000 IU per day for some.

    That's about as mainstream as it gets -- and that's up to 10 times the levels used in the melanoma study. If researchers ever bothered to test this real dose of D against skin cancer, my guess is that the disease wouldn't stand a chance.

    A growing number of studies have shown how higher levels of D can not only prevent melanoma and other cancers, but also slow the progression of the disease when it does strike.

    Studies have also shown how vitamin D can boost the immune system, protect the heart, support the brain, ease allergies, defeat the flu and even help prevent diabetes.

    Yet the mainstream tells you to avoid the sun, the single best natural source of D -- and even blames it for the very
    melanomas it might help prevent.

    No wonder we're sicker than ever -- we're getting awful health advice.

    Take charge of your own health -- get your hands on a D supplement, and don't be afraid to spend a little more time outside.

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