I've told you a lot about vitamin D. But the news gets even better. Two separate studies show this powerful vitamin can prevent hypertension and cancer.

Researchers recently conducted a study on 7,700 mixed-racial subjects. None of them had any history of high blood pressure. Those patients with sufficient vitamin D (80 nmol/L) had a 20% less risk of systolic hypertension.

Of particular concern were the African-American participants. Only 8% of them had "sufficient" levels of vitamin D. That's serious business. Dark pigmentation protects from skin cancer. But it can shield too much sunlight. That makes these individuals more vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency - and high blood pressure.

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In the second study, researchers followed over 2,700 women. They found that those with the highest vitamin D levels had up to a 70% decreased risk of breast cancer. The risk went down as the level went up to 75 nmol/L. That's similar to the level needed for preventing high blood pressure.

It's absolutely vital you get your vitamin D level checked. This is especially important for blacks. Vitamin D deficiency is a widespread, but preventable cause of serious disease. My wife and I routinely take vitamin D now. We found our own levels to be less than ideal, and we are outdoors a lot! Almost everyone needs to take a daily dose of 5,000 IU per day. If your levels are substantially below 75 nmol/L, then take 10,000 IU daily until your levels move into the sufficient range.

Ref: "Optimal vitamin D status attenuates the age-associated increase in systolic blood pressure in white Americans: results from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey," Judd SE, Tangpricha V, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2008; 87(1): 136-141.

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