Vitamin D is one of the main reasons our mothers carried us outdoors back when we were babies. Sunlight is perhaps the best source of this vitamin, which helps in strengthening bones, balancing calcium, and normalizing blood pressure in our bodies. In fact, vitamin D is such an integral part of our physical well-being that having too little of it can supposedly cause alarming damage. reports that researchers have discovered that those with low levels of vitamin D have a greater risk of getting a heart attack, which may then lead to early death. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen University Hospital did a population study involving more than 10,000 Danish participants whose vitamin D levels were measured between 1981 and 1983. Regular updates on the participants were maintained throughout the years and were monitored via registries until the present.

Dr. Peter Brøndum-Jacobsen of Copenhagen University Hospital's Clinical Biochemical Department explains their findings. "We have now examined the association between a low level of vitamin D and ischemic heart disease and death in the largest study to date. We observed that low levels of vitamin D compared to optimal levels are linked to [a] 40 percent higher risk of ischemic heart disease, [a] 64 percent higher risk of heart attack, [a] 57 percent higher risk of early death, and no less than [an] 81 percent higher risk of death from heart disease," he says.

Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) is a condition in which blood supplied to the heart is greatly reduced due to the accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries. Symptoms of IHD include angina (chest pains during strenuous activities and emotional situations), heart burn, heart attack, and heart failure.

Although scientists are still working on pinpointing exactly how a vitamin D deficit can lead to such serious problems, this study can serve as a precaution. Keep your heart happy by living healthy, and make sure that you get your daily dose of vitamin D by eating fish, eggs, and dairy products. Most of all, get lots of morning sunlight. After all, with just about any disease, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

(Photo by Bailey Weaver via Flickr Creative Commons)

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