Scientists have long known that vitamin D is essential for absorption of calcium by our bodies. Recently, research about the many benefits of vitamin D has been coming from all over the world. The latest report gives insight into the ability of vitamin D to lower the risk of getting heart disease. “Vitamin D replacement therapy has long been associated with reducing the risk of fractures and diseases of the bone,” explained Dr. Muhlestein, MD, of the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute. “But our findings show that vitamin D could have far greater implications in the treatment and reduction of cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions than we previously thought.” Dr. Muhlestein, along with other researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute conducted their study with roughly 31,000 patients and found that heart disease is directly associated with low levels of vitamin D. Dr. Heidi May, PhD, a cardiovascular clinical epidemiologist and one of the study’s authors explained that “It was very important to discover that the ‘normal’ levels are too low. Giving physicians a higher level to look for gives them one more tool in identifying patients at-risk and offering them better treatment.” Dr. Muhlestein recommends that the average person should get an additional 1000-5000 IU of vitamin D each day. This is best done either by taking readily available supplements or through 20-30 minutes of sunlight exposure, which naturally produces vitamin D.