High levels of naturally occurring vitamin D can cut the chances of heart disease or diabetes by 43%, according to researchers.
Humans get 90% of their necessary vitamin D from sunshine so the researchers recommend sensible exposure in the summer - 30 minutes twice a week for the face and arms with no sunscreen. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel can work with sunshine to give adequate protection, they said.
The study examined naturally occurring vitamin D rather than supplements, said author Dr Johanna Parker, based at a Birmingham GP practice.
“We recommend people eat a healthy diet with two to three portions of oily fish a week and five portions of fruit and vegetables,” he added.
Researchers reviewed 28 existing studies on almost 100,000 people looking at vitamin D levels among the middle-aged and elderly. The team, from Warwick Medical School, examined the effect of the vitamin on cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
The research was published in the journal Maturitas.