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Vitamin D and Heart Health

Vitamin D can be found in many nutritional sources such as eggs, fish, fortified milk, and cod liver oil. The sun also provides daily production of vitamin D.

There are several different forms of vitamin D. The two that are the most beneficial to people are ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3).

Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants and vitamin D3 is synthesized by humans in the skin when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Ten minutes of sunlight exposure is believed to be enough to prevent deficiencies. Foods can be fortified with vitamin D2 or D3.

Vitamin D helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. It also aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and sustain strong bones.

It is used, alone or in combination with calcium, to increase bone mineral density and decrease fractures. Studies also suggest vitamin D may provide protection from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, and several autoimmune diseases.

Classic vitamin D deficiency diseases include rickets and osteomalacia, which results in muscular weakness in addition to weak bones.

People who are at at a high risk for vitamin D deficiencies include the elderly, people who are overweight, infants who are breastfed only, and those who have limited sun exposure.

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