Vitamin D deficiency may lead to osteoporosis

New research suggests that increased vitamin D intake, especially in the form of vitamin D3, may contribute to improved bone strength, according to the Vitamin D Council. Those who do not get enough of the nutrient, such as Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who recently revealed that she suffers from osteopenia as a result of vitamin D deficiency, may develop more serious conditions such as osteoporosis.

Most experts agree that adding more vitamin D to the diet through foods and supplements can greatly increase the chances of improving bone strength. Also, a moderate amount of daily sun exposure can provide the body with enough of the nutrient.

Research from the Vitamin D Council states that as little as 20 minutes spent in the sun produces up to 10,000 International Units of the vitamin. This is almost 50 times the amount that the U.S. government recommends.

Individuals who believe they may be vitamin D deficient can request blood tests that will determine how much is needed to regulate their individual levels.

Approximately eight million women and two million men have osteoporosis in the U.S., according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.