Natural Vitamin Supplement Vitamin D has been in the news a lot over the past year. From supporting healthy blood sugar levels to keeping you healthy during cold and flu season, it seems to be at the top of the list of nutrients everyone should be maximizing in their diets and taking as a supplement.

Results of a recent study*, published on May 24, 2012 in the journal Stroke, indicate that NOT taking vitamin D might increase your chances of having a stroke. For the study, which took place over the course of 34 years, over 7,000 Japanese-American men between the ages 45 to 68 years old were initially examined in the late 1960’s and followed for the subsequent 34 years.

Researchers calculated risk while adjusting for age, total calorie intake, body-mass index, hypertension, diabetes, cigarette smoking, physical activity, cholesterol levels and alcohol intake. Men who consumed the least dietary vitamin D had a 22 percent higher risk of stroke and a 27 percent increase risk of ischemic (blood-clot related) stroke compared to those consuming the highest levels of vitamin D. There was no difference for hemorrhagic stroke.

Gotaro Kojima, M.D., lead author of the study and geriatric medicine fellow at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu is not certain whether these results would be the same with women or with different ethnicities.

This study is unique in that it focused on dietary intake rather than vitamin D content in the blood. Dr. Kojima believes this study affirms the idea that older people should try to get as much dietary vitamin D as possible. Food sources of vitamin D include fortified milk and breakfast cereals, egg yolks and fatty fish. However, the greatest natural source of vitamin D is sunlight. Vitamin D is also available as a nutritional supplement.