Are you vitamin D deficient?; The NJ Star Ledger explains the importance of this dietary nutrient.

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Most of us never would think that we could be vitamin D deficient, yet this important vitamin is often deficient in people who easily fracture bones, get certain cancers, and have other health problems. Our bodies manufacture vitamin D when we go in the sun, and if we drink milk, vitamin D is usually added, yet many of us are deficient and we have no idea that we are. The NJ Star-Ledger had this as a front-page story today. Check it out here

Vitamin D: Why it's so hot - and why you probably need more of it

By Kathleen O'Brien | NJ Advance Media for

Think of Vitamin D as the shy child, always upstaged by its siblings.

Vitamin C has claimed most of the attention for years, relinquishing the spotlight only when the B vitamins clamored for recognition. Even Vitamin E made a grab at the spotlight.

Lately, however, people are starting to notice Vitamin D. A flood of new studies has found it to be helpful with everything from lupus to asthma, multiple sclerosis to leg ulcers, breast cancer to gingivitis.

By one estimate, 13 percent of all deaths in the United States could be attributed to low levels of Vitamin D.

It has its own association of boosters and even international conventions that focus on its benefits — quite heady stuff for the vitamin that has been an unassuming part of good nutrition for nearly a century.

"We're in the middle of a Vitamin D revolution," says John Cannell, a California psychiatrist who founded the Vitamin D Council in 2003.

Yet experts suspect two-thirds of Americans — even normal, healthy ones — are walking around with a chronic deficiency. And one Morris County orthopedic surgeon has discovered suburban teen athletes in her practice with levels so low she calls it "silent rickets."

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