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Vitamin D plays many roles in the body and may help prevent a number of diseases. When paired with calcium, it protects against the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis because it promotes absorption of calcium in the body. Research also suggests that vitamin D protects against certain cancers, especially colon. What's more, vitamin D is thought to fend off multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Some experts think that vitamin D may also reduce the risk of asthma, heart disease, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), although more research needs to be done to confirm these claims. What is clear is that some people may need to supplement their diets with vitamin D: The recommend daily allowance for D is 600 international units (IUs) for adults under age 70 and 800 IUs for older adults.
Recent and encouraging animal research shows that tumors can start to disappear when injected with vitamin D. Other studies have shown deficiencies in vitamin D will contribute to breast cancer and colorectal cancer. It seems when there is not enough vitamin D around, the cancer cells keep a signal going that allows them to grow further. Furthermore, the immune system tends to remain more balanced with adequate vitamin D, which may be a reason it is helpful in autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.