New research suggests that having too little vitamin D, the so-called sunshine vitamin, can contribute to heart disease, falls and broken bones, breast cancer, prostate cancer, depression, and memory loss, reports the December 2009 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter. Vitamin D is best known for building and maintaining healthy bones by helping the digestive system absorb calcium and phosphorus. But it does much, much more.
Coronary artery disease. Calcium deposits that stiffen the arteries are more likely to develop in people with low levels of vitamin D. In one study, men low in vitamin D were twice as likely to develop heart disease.
High blood pressure. Vitamin D decreases the kidneys' production of renin, a hormone that boosts blood pressure. Several studies suggest that low vitamin D contributes to high blood pressure, and that getting more of the vitamin can help control blood pressure.
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