Apparently everything. Especially for those who live in the northern part of the U.S. where it’s not too common to spend 20 minutes a day soaking up the sun’s rays in the middle of a blizzard. Even if a person could withstand the cold long enough, the sun’s rays just aren’t high enough in the sky to matter. In the summer, covering up with sunscreen every moment is like wearing winter clothing as far as getting enough of those sun’s rays to make a difference in active vitamin D levels.

The sun’s rays convert cholesterol into active vitamin D. (Most people have enough cholesterol, so getting more of that is never an issue in vitamin D deficiency. ) In the winter, when people aren’t able to spend time outdoors with bare skin, the body recognizes that there’s not enough vitamin D and it starts ramping up the production of cholesterol in hopes that the more cholesterol is available the more there is of it to produce that much-needed vitamin D. I’m sure you can figure out where this is going. When people don’t get enough vitamin D, their cholesterol levels rise. That leads to an increased risk of heart disease.

Now this can hardly be good news because every third person across the globe has been suffering from heart related ailments after attaining a certain age but as long as vitamin D is consumed on a measured basis then it is no less than the best immune support supplement ever.

Also, vitamin D helps stave off thinning of the bones, or osteoporosis. People may not realize this, but the bones in their bodies are constantly remodeling themselves. What that means is that the calcium that makes bones strong is constantly being dissolved out of the bones and then re-deposited back into the bones. This is normal and people should want this to happen. When the calcium does this, it makes its travels to and from the bones through the bloodstream.

In order for that calcium to get out of the bloodstream and back into the bones, it needs vitamin D. Plus the body needs more calcium. When the ingredients to make strong bones are off, the newly deposited bone is weak. Vitamin D acts like a key that lets the calcium out of the bloodstream and back into the bones. Obviously, if there’s not enough vitamin D, the calcium stays in the bloodstream and has the potential to form calcium plaques in the blood vessels, which is also a risk factor for heart disease.

That circulating calcium wants to end up back in the bones, but sometimes there are other things in the body that compete for the calcium, that bind the calcium so that it can’t be used by the bones. Here’s another reason to stop drinking carbonated drinks that have a lot of phosphates in them. Also, caffeine can do this as well.

Years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration used to recommend that people consume 400 international units of vitamin D. That recommendation was doubled not too long ago. Now, the medical profession recommends 2,000 international units for healthy adults, 3,000 international units for adults with heart disease and other inflammatory type conditions and 5,000 units for those with multiple sclerosis or MS. Before deciding to increase their intake of vitamin D, everyone should consult a medical practitioner. This should be tops on the list of things to do, though.