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nightsurfer on 2009-12-01"For more than 80 years, scientists have known that vitamin D is important for building bones. And for most of those 80 years, people thought this was the only thing it was good for. In the past decade, however, we've learned two important things about vitamin D: it appears to have many other important health effects, and many Americans don't get enough of it. In 2008, new research pointed to a vitamin D deficiency as a possible contributing factor in heart disease. And the suspected link between vitamin D deficiency and cancer grew even stronger. This surely will spur much new research in 2009.
Why is vitamin D deficiency so common? The vitamin is made in our skin when sunlight strikes it. Many Americans—especially those who live in the northern part of the country, are elderly or have dark skin—don't soak up enough sun. And the vitamin isn't found in many foods. The main sources are fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines) and milk, cereal and juices that have been fortified with it. Vitamin D deficiency often is unsuspected because it causes no direct symptoms; like high blood pressure, it does its damage silently."