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Vitamin D May Slash Metabolic Syndrome Risk

A study published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Lipidology found that lower levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome.

According to the American Heart Association, metabolic syndrome is defined as having three or more of the following:

1. A waistline greater than 40 for men or 35 for women

2. Good (HDL) cholesterol under 40mg/dL for men or 50mg/dL for women

3. Triglyceride levels over 150mg/dL

4. Blood pressure over 130/85mm Hg or the use of blood pressure medicine

5. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein

6. Insulin resistance, glucose intolerance or the use of hyperglycemia (high blood

sugar) medicine

Having metabolic syndrome puts you at higher risk for a number of health problems including heart disease, heart attack, type 2 diabetes and even certain cancers.

For the study, US researchers with Provident Clinical Research analyzed vitamin D levels in the blood of 257 men and women over 18 years of age. Supplement use and diet were assessed using food frequency and dietary supplement questionnaires.

The researchers found that people with the highest blood concentrations of vitamin D had a 21% decrease in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome.

They also found that higher levels of vitamin D were associated with lower HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Vitamin D has been linked to better bone health, lower blood pressure, increased calcium absorption, stimulation of the immune system, and even protection against certain cancers.

As you can see, vitamin D has many health benefits, yet, approximately 9 out of 10 older adults have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency.

This is due to the fact that the primary way to get vitamin D is through exposure to the sun. As you grow older, your skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing the vitamin.

In order to avoid vitamin D deficiency and reap the many benefits of this essential vitamin, you may want to consider taking a supplement or eating more foods fortified with the vitamin. Fish, milk products and many cereals either contain vitamin D naturally, or are fortified with vitamin D.

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