By Bob Condor

For 15 years as a health columnist for two major newspapers I have talked to hundreds of scientists about their research on dietary supplements. I make it a point to always ask the same question during our conversation: Do you take this stuff yourself?

In a June 10 story about vitamin D deficiency in the Los Angeles Times, reporter Thomas H. Maugh II notes that “most researchers in the field now take 1,500 IUs [international units] per day” or nearly four time the federally recommended daily amount of vitamin D.

That is telling.

These researchers are gripping the central role of vitamin D before the rest of us—in their animal labs and from clinical trials and meta-analsyes with humans. They see ‘D’ stands for defend your body from heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other conditions.

Some examples: A study published this month shows a link between low body levels of vitamin D and increased risk for diabetes. Another June 2008 study, published in the Annals for Internal Medicine by Harvard School of Public Health researcher Dr. Edward Giovannucci, evaluated more than 18,000 men. The analysis indicated men with vitamin D deficiency are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as males with normal amounts of D.

Vitamin D researchers say the research isn’t conclusive enough to make a direct cause-and-effect between the vitamin and disease, but that keeping an adequate amount in the bloodstream doesn’t seem unhealthy—and might turn out to be a health ace in the hole. Scientists speculate that low vitamin D levels might lead to calcium buildup in plaque on artery walls or perhaps adversely affect blood pressure or heart muscle contractions.Vive Sin Ansiedad