Despite all the clamoring over what is fresh and new, functional-foods and supplements developers are lighting up over an old favorite: vitamin D.
Inklings of a possible connection between vitamin D and cancer first appeared back in 1941 when Dr. Frank Apperly analyzed North American cancer statistics and found that the closer a person lived to the equator, the lower his or her cancer risk.
In the 68 years since, dozens of studies have shown that people living at higher latitudes have higher rates of everything from Hodgkin's lymphoma to colon, pancreatic, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers.
We now know that the magic of sunlight is not so much the sunlight itself, but rather how the skin converts this light into vitamin D.
Just how crucial vitamin D may be to human health became even clearer in 2008, as study after study came out documenting its benefits on everything from cancer to dermatitis to heart disease.
"Vitamin D will be strong [in 2009]," says Loren Israelsen, executive director of the United Natural Products Alliance and president of the Salt Lake City-based LDI Group consultancy. "Almost everyone is taking too little."
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXX/number 1/p. 31