London: Milk fortified with vitamin D can make our bones not only stronger but also prevent heart disease and cancer, a new study says.
In colder countries with poor or erratic sunshine, half the population is likely to be low in the `sunshine vitamin`.
The vitamin is vital for calcium absorption and bone health and may help to prevent Alzheimer`s, reports the Daily Mail.
Vitamin D-rich foods include oily fish and eggs but with 90 percent coming from the action of sunlight on the skin there are concerns that advice on abstaining from sunbathing is unnecessarily restrictive.
Recent research has shown that vitamin D supplements are as good as some drugs at keeping prostate cancer under control.
It is also being said that taking vitamin D supplements in pregnancy and childhood could wipe out 80 percent of cases of multiple sclerosis.
Susan Lanham-New, the member of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition and Surrey University nutritionist, said a study of 14,000 pregnant women in Bristol during the 1990s found that more than 90 percent of them were not getting enough of the vitamin.
She said: "Vitamin D is known to be vital for a wide range of body functions. A lot of us are very worried about (deficiencies) and think it needs looking at."