Vitamin D May Reduce Risk of Cancer, Heart Disease

New study shows vitamin's potential health benefit for millions of Americans.
3:00 | 04/02/14

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Transcript for Vitamin D May Reduce Risk of Cancer, Heart Disease
big headline about health, from a study of almost 1 million people. Today, a new report says you can cut your risk of cancer and heart disease by paying closer attention to a vitamin. Vitamin D. Here's ABC's Mara schiavocampo. Reporter: It's a spring ritual, getting reacquainted with the sun. And a critical one, too. The major new study of nearly 1 million people finds the lower your vitamin D levels, the higher your risk for certain diseases, including a 35% increased risk of death from heart disease, and a 14% increase in death from cancer. Vitamin D not only helps block a host of major illnesses, it can boost your heart and even strengthen your bones. This, while an estimated two-thirds of the population isn't getting enough. So, just how do you raise your vitamin D levels? Well, for one thing, spend more time outdoors. Doctors recommend about one hour of time in the sun per week. And they say, to expose as much skin as possible. Of course, experts say, you have to take precautions not to get too much sun. And point to the vitamin D you can get by eating more salmon, mushrooms and kale. For middle age and older women, vitamin d-3 supplements can help, too. Food sources are really limited. So, it's best for most people to take a supplement. Reporter: But this spring, experts say the best thing to do is get outside and soak up some sun. Mara schiavocampo, ABC news, new that hour of recommended sun time can be spread out over the entire week. And doctors say, that amount just a few minutes each day, generally won't increase your risk of skin cancer, Diane, or other problems that come with too much sun exposure. And you can use some protection. Yes. You can. Mara, thank you again.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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