Benefits Of Vitamin D
A flurry of research in the last few years suggests low levels of Vitamin D may be partly to blame for much of the ill health of many Americans.
Mary Heffernan, like many people, probably doesn't get enough Vitamin D each day. She's testing people at MU as part of a study linking Vitamin D and inflammatory markers in the blood, which can effect bone health.
"Initially the recommended Vitamin D level was set on preventing rickets," said Mary Heffernan, graduate assistant.
But new research says Vitamin D goes far beyond better bones.
"Vitamin D has been implicated in the prevention of breast cancer, certain types of auto-immune disease," said Catherine Peterson, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences.
It's also proving effective to ward off the flu, diabetes, heart disease and even some neurological disorders. It seems too simple to be true: the average person only needs about 15 minutes of sunlight a day during the summer, but during winter months and in cooler climates, 1000 I.U.'s of Vitamin D-3 in a pill will do the trick.
Peterson is using those who don't tan and those who regularly tan for her study, since tanners get the light needed for optimal Vitamin D production.
"That's where the tanning salon comes as a benefit," said Beth Mayberry, Tan Rio.
"It's what can be considered normal and who is getting the benefits there. People stuck inside all day or people laying out in the sun?" said Heffernan.
Peterson is still collecting data and needs more tanners to sign up. And Heffernan has nothing to worry about, her bones look strong, and summer's just around the corner.
If you take part in the Vitamin D study, you get a free bone density test as well as a body composition scan, tests which usually cost several hundred dollars.