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Getting a 'D' That’s Good for You

If you’re like most people, your knowledge of vitamin D is probably quite slim. You may know vitamin D can come from sun exposure and that a deficiency can cause weak bones. However, what you might not know is that new research suggests that having insufficient amounts of vitamin D in your diet may put you at a higher risk for heart disease.

A recent study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found that participants with low levels of vitamin D had a 62 percent higher risk of experiencing a heart attack, heart failure or stroke within five years than those with higher levels of vitamin D.

The American Dietetic Association recommends that adults under age 50 receive 200 international units(IU) of vitamin D each day, and adults ages 50 to 70 receive 400 IU daily.

According to the National Institutes of Health, there are many ways to get your recommended vitamin D dose.

• Anything fortified. If you drink one glass of vitamin D-fortified milk per day, you’ll get about 25 percent of your daily need. Check the labels on your dairy products to see if they are fortified.

• Fatty fish. Including salmon, mackerel and sardines in your diet can help you meet daily requirements.

• Sunshine. Standing in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, three days a week, is another easy way to reach your vitamin D requirement.

For a referral to a physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas, please call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355) or visit TexasHealth.org. (Spring 2009)

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