This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
D helps bones and muscles grow strong and healthy. Low levels of vitamin D can
lead to problems like rickets and osteoporosis. Rickets is a deformity mainly
found in children. Osteoporosis is the thinning of bone, a common problem as
people, especially women, get older.
Studies in recent years have suggested that vitamin D may
also have other uses. Studies have shown that low levels of D may increase the
risk of heart attacks in men and deaths from some cancers. Other studies have
shown that people with rheumatic diseases often have low levels of D.
The easiest way to get vitamin D is from
sunlight. The ultraviolet rays react with skin cells to produce the vitamin.
But many people worry about skin cancer and skin damage from the sun.
Also, darker skinned people produce less vitamin D than
lighter skinned people. Production also decreases in older people and those
living in northern areas that get less sunlight.
many foods naturally contain vitamin D. Foods with high levels include oily
fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, and fish liver oils. Boston University
researchers reported in two thousand seven that farmed salmon had a lot less vitamin
D than wild salmon.
amounts of D are found in beef liver, cheese and egg yolks. And some people
take dietary supplements containing the vitamin. But most of the D in the
American diet comes from foods like milk with the vitamin added.
These days, more doctors are testing for vitamin D
levels in their patients. But as research continues, some experts worry that if
people take too much D, it might act as a poison. Also, skin doctors warn
people to be careful with sun exposure.
much vitamin D does a healthy person need? Nutrition experts who advise the
American government set the current recommendations in nineteen ninety-seven. The
daily amount is two hundred international units from birth through age fifty. Then
it rises to four hundred I.U.s through age seventy, and six hundred for those
seventy-one and older. But some groups say these amounts are not high enough.
nutrition experts are taking another look at how much vitamin D and calcium
people should get. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies expects
to release a report by this coming May.
that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. I'm Bob