Research by Anthony Norman of UC Riverside, which was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, points to vitamin D as an essential nutrient for 36 different organs. In the past vitamin D has gotten the most attention for its association with skeletal health, warding off diseases like osteoporosis and rickets, but this new research points out that vitamin D is integral for intestinal, kidney, skin, lung, and stomach health as well.
"It is becoming increasingly clear to researchers in the field that vitamin D is strongly linked to several diseases," said Norman, a distinguished professor emeritus of biochemistry and of biomedical sciences who has worked on vitamin D for more than 45 years. "Its biological sphere of influence is much broader than we originally thought. The nutritional guidelines for vitamin D intake must be carefully reevaluated to determine the adequate intake, balancing sunlight exposure with dietary intake, to achieve good health by involving all 36 target organs."
Norman recommends that people take at least 2000 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day, considerably more than the conventional recommended dose, which is between 200 IU to 600 IU, depending on age. Norman's continious research about vitamin D has been funded by yearly grants from the National Institues of Health for over forty years; the man has a passion, and has consistently provided new and revolutionary info throughout his career. It was from his lab that it was first discovered that vitamin D is converted into a steroid hormone by the body.
To read more about Norman's work with vitamin D you can check out his work at AJCN (From vitamin D to Hormone D) or read more at Science Daily (Vitamin D Key Player in Overall Health).