Researchers and doctors have put the "sunshine vitamin" in the spotlight in recent years. Vitamin D's connections to bone health were established long ago, but newer research has linked low vitamin D levels to risk for heart disease, certain cancers, and autoimmune diseases, among others.
That spotlight dimmed a bit with a November 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine, a scientific body that examined vitamin D research at the request of the U.S. and Canadian governments. The group's report questioned the need for high levels of vitamin D supplements and made recommendations far below the levels pushed for by some doctors.
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