Do you know Vitamin D in Milk May Reduce Your Risk of Chronic Illness?
It’s required to be listed on the ingredient label but not necessarily on the front of the carton.
Vitamin D has many important health benefits, and drinking vitamin D fortified milk is an easy way to help meet your needs.
The recommended Daily Value (DV) for vitamin D is 800 international units (IU), or 20 mcg per day for all adults and children over 4 years old. For children aged 1–3, it’s 600 IU or 15 mcg per day.
With the exception of fatty fish like salmon, which contains 447 IU in a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving, very few foods are good sources of vitamin D. Instead, most vitamin D is made in your body when your skin is exposed to the sun.
Many people don’t meet the recommendations for vitamin D.
Other factors, such as having obesity or underweight, being physically inactive, and having certain genetic mutations, can also put you at risk of having lower vitamin D levels.
Taking a supplement and using fortified foods like vitamin D milk are good ways to increase your intake and blood levels of vitamin D.
You get vitamin D from sun exposure and your diet. However, many people don’t get the recommended amount from their diet. Eating fortified foods like vitamin D milk can help close the gap.
Drinking milk that contains both calcium and vitamin D is recommended as a way to strengthen your bones and prevent rickets and osteomalacia.
However, large studies don’t show that it helps prevent osteoporosis, which is characterized by a thinning of the bones, or bone fractures in older adults.
Still, having higher levels of vitamin D is linked to important health benefits — and they extend beyond improved bone health.
Vitamin D is needed for proper cell growth, nerve and muscle function, and a healthy immune system. It likewise helps reduce inflammation, which is thought to contribute to conditions like heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.
Studies that have compared vitamin D levels with disease risk suggest that having lower blood levels of the vitamin is linked to a higher risk of a wide range of chronic diseases, while having adequate or higher levels seems to result in a lower risk.
A major risk factor for heart disease is a cluster of conditions known as metabolic syndrome. It includes high blood pressure, insulin resistance, excess abdominal weight, high triglycerides, and low HDL (good) cholesterol.
People who have higher levels of vitamin D tend to have less severe metabolic syndrome and a lower risk of heart disease.
Additionally, higher levels of vitamin D are linked to healthier blood vessels.
A study in nearly 10,000 people found that those who got more vitamin D from supplements or diet — including fortified milk — had higher blood levels of the vitamin, less stiffness in their arteries, and lower blood pressure, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels.
May reduce cancer risk
Because vitamin D plays a major role in healthy cell division, development, and growth, it’s thought that it may also play a role in preventing the growth of cancer cells.
Research that looked at vitamin D levels and cancer risk in 2,300 women over the age of 55 found that blood levels greater than 40 ng/ml were associated with a 67% lower risk of all types of cancer.
Furthermore, Australian scientists who followed 3,800 adults for 20 years found the same benefit for breast and colon cancer, but not all types of cancer.
Though these studies looked only at vitamin D levels and not how the vitamin was obtained, a review of studies investigating the link between dairy milk and cancer found that it was protective against colorectal, bladder, stomach, and breast cancer