(NaturalNews) A vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a host of health problems ranging from depression to increased levels of bone fractures in adults and even certain cancers.
One of the latest studies confirms the importance of having proper levels of vitamin D in the system, concluding that men with low levels of vitamin D are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
The study, conducted by researchers at Northwestern University, assessed 275 European-American men and 273 African-American men between the ages of 40 and 79.
Overall, African-American men were 4.89 times more likely to develop prostate cancer while European-American men with the lowest levels of vitamin D were less likely to develop it: 3.66 times more likely. When men with the lowest levels of vitamin D were assessed, African-American men were 4.22 times more likely to develop a later stage tumor, called a T2b tumor, which is isolated in the prostate. In comparison, European-American men with the lowest vitamin D levels were only 2.42 times more likely to get this tumor.
It's suggested that skin coloring and sunlight absorption ability (a main way to obtain vitamin D naturally) plays a role. Researchers explain that this could be a possible reason why the African-American men had an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, as these numbers suggest.
Top vitamin D researcher, William Grant, Ph.D., agrees. He says, "Those with darker skin should take higher vitamin D supplementation."
Best ways to increase vitamin D levels
Aside from exposing the body to sunlight for up to 30 minutes twice weekly, a vitamin D supplement may be taken to boost its levels in the system. Vitamin D can also be found in certain foods such as salmon and whole milk, but fortunately it also exists in almond milk (one cup has about 100 IU of vitamin D) and in mushrooms.
Certain mushrooms in particular have been identified as a good source. For example, portobello mushrooms contain about 400 IUs of vitamin D per 3-ounce serving, or one cup, diced. Some experts advise resting purchased mushrooms in sunlight to reap the benefits. Paul Stamets, Founder of Fungi Perfecti and an advisor at the Program of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Medical School, Tucson explains that " . . . up to 12 hours of sun exposure to upside-down (gills up) shiitakes created 46,000 IU of vitamin D . . ."
About the author: A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well.