PEOPLE who take regular doses of vitamin D have a significantly lower risk of dying early than those who do not use supplements, according to a research recently.
Previous studies have suggested vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of cancer, heart disease or diabetes, but the new findings indicate the vitamin provides an even bigger bang, researchers wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
â€œIntake of ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements seems to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates,â€ said Philippe Autier of the International Agency for Cancer Research in France and Sara Gandini of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan.
The reasons why were not clear, but the researchers suggested the vitamin might block cancer cells from spreading or boost the immune system.
They did not conduct the studies themselves, but did what is called a meta-analysis by reviewing 18 separate trials involving nearly 60,000 patients.
The doses averaged 528 international units, within the range of most commercially available vitamin D supplements.
They found that nearly 5,000 of the participants in the studies died over an average follow-up period of 5.7 years, with the data showing that those who took vitamin D supplements had a 7% lower risk of death.
The team did not consider the specific causes of death in the studies, which included mostly healthy middle-aged or elderly people. They said further investigations were needed.
Vitamin D is important for healthy teeth, bones and nerve cells such as the brain that are an important regulator of the immune system.
Few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D. The body produces it during exposure to sunlight.
Get the â€˜sunshine vitaminâ€™ and live longer