Vitamin D is a vitamin, required and extremely important for human health. Different from the most viitamins, it is a fat-soluble which means it gets dissolved into fats and oils which allows it to be stored in your body for a long time.

If you shun the sun, suffer from milk allergies, or adhere to a strict vegan diet, you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight. It is also occurs naturally in a few foods — including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks — and in fortified dairy and grain products.

In addition to its primary benefits, research suggests that vitamin D may also play a role in:

  • reducing your risk of multiple sclerosis, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
  • decreasing your chance of developing heart disease, according to 2008 findings published in CirculationTrusted Source
  • helping to reduce your likelihood of developing the flu, according to 2010 research published in the American Journal of Clinical NutritionTrusted Source

Consider adding vitamin D supplements to your diet if you’re trying to lose weight or prevent heart disease. You can find a great selection of vitamin D supplements on Amazon.com.

In one study, people taking a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement were able to lose more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement. The scientists said the extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite-suppressing effect.

In another study, overweight people who took a daily vitamin D supplement improved their heart disease risk markers.

Some people are at a greater risk than others. In the United States, 41.6% of the total population is deficient, although minorities fare worse — 82.1% and 69.2% of blacks and Hispanics are deficient, respectively.

Additionally, older adults are at a much greater risk of being deficient.

Those who have certain diseases are also very likely to be deficient. One study showed that 96% of people who had experienced heart attacks were low in vitamin D.

Overall, vitamin D deficiency is a silent epidemic. The symptoms are usually subtle and may take years or decades to surface.

There are a few ways you can naturally get the Vitamin D you need. The sun is one way. When we are exposed to the sun, our body naturally responses by producing Vitamin D. We should try to get 10 minutes of sun exposure a few times a week. Vitamin D breaks down pretty quick so you need to maintain this weekly to ensure enough exposure to sunlight to produce the Vitamin D you need. Food is another great way to get your Vitamin D. Vitamins are nutrients that are not naturally made by us. In order to get them, we must eat foods that contain vitamins and minerals. Read more details on Vitamin D supplement guide.