UC Riverside''s Anthony Norman, an international expert on vitamin D., says that the "sunshine" vitamin is essential for the proper development of almost all organs of the body
He found that vitamin D maintains good health in the adaptive and innate immune systems, the secretion and regulation of insulin by the pancreas, the heart and blood pressure regulation, muscle strength and brain activity.
Also, it is also believed that access to adequate amounts of vitamin D could be beneficial towards reducing the risk of cancer.
In his study, Norman also enlisted 36 organ tissues in the body whose cells respond biologically to vitamin D, which include bone marrow, breast, colon, intestine, kidney, lung, prostate, retina, skin, stomach and the uterus.
In his opinion, deficiency of vitamin D can impact all 36 organs.
Vitamin D deficiency has already been linked with muscle strength decrease, high risk for falls, and increased risk for colorectal, prostate and breast and other major cancers.
"It is becoming increasingly clear to researchers in the field that vitamin D is strongly linked to several diseases. Its biological sphere of influence is much broader than we originally thought. The nutritional guidelines for vitamin D intake must be carefully reevaluated to determine the adequate intake, balancing sunlight exposure with dietary intake, to achieve good health by involving all 36 target organs," said Norman.
He added: "To optimize good health you must have enough vitamin D," he said. "Vitamin D deficiency is also especially of concern in third world countries that have poor nutritional practices and religious customs that require the body to be covered from head to toe. Ideally, to achieve the widest frequency of good health by population, we need to have 90 percent of the people with adequate amounts of vitamin D."
Not only does vitamin D deficiency impacts health negatively, extremely high doses of vitamin D can also cause hypercalcemia, a condition in which the blood's calcium level is above normal. The highest daily ''safe'' dose of vitamin D is 10,000 IU.
"More than ever we need to increase the amount of research on vitamin D, with more funding from government agencies and pharmaceutical companies, to meet the challenge of preserving or improving the health of everyone on the planet," said Norman.
The study is published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.