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The Sunshine Vitamin: It’s good for your heart, too

17 January 2008

Yet more good news for sun worshippers and those who eat plenty of oily fish: the vitamin D derived from either activity reduces your risk of heart disease and increases your survival chances if you have cancer. These latest benefits from the ‘sunshine vitamin’ follow the discovery announced several weeks ago that the vitamin also reduces the risks of epilepsy.  In one study involving 1,739 participants, researchers discovered that those with low levels of vitamin D are twice as likely to suffer a cardiovascular problem such as heart attack, heart failure or stroke. In a separate study, researchers found that sunshine also reduces your chances of dying from cancer.  The vitamin D produced by solar radiation in countries below the Equator was 3.4 times greater than in northern countries such as the UK .  Although the incidence of major cancers was higher in lower latitudes, the survival rate was dramatically better.


  • Circulation doi: 10.1161.circulationaha,107.706127 (heart study); Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America doi:10.1073/pnas.0710615105 (cancer study)