Every few years, one vitamin or other will shove the reigning champion out of its throne and become the new Big Deal Vitamin. For a while, it was Vitamin E, but more recently, Vitamin D has been in the limelight.

Vitamin D is made in the body from sunlight (supposedly dietary cholesterol plays a role as well), and it also exists in fish and fortified milk. Among its “healing” properties, vitamin D is thought to help build strong bones, strengthen the immune system, and reduce the risks for conditions like diabetes and cancer.

According to a 2008 report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, about half of adults and kids in our country are deficient.

A lot more doctors have begun to test patients’ levels, and in the past year-and-a-half, and people are spending over five times on vitamin D supplements than they were several years ago. Should you join in?

It’s still a little early to tell, and many doctors worry that taking too much could do more harm than good. In this New York Times article, Tara Parker-Pope details a few recent studies that show some possible benefit to making sure people get adequate levels of vitamin D. However, it’s possible to do things that help you get more vitamin D, such as exercising outdoors or even just taking a walk around the block during the day. You can also drink milk. Remember when people used to drink that instead of soda?

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