Have high levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol? You may want to consider popping 400 IU of vitamin D daily. That's how much researchers found the "sunshine vitamin" lowered levels of LDL cholesterol in women who took the supplement every day for three years. The scientists, funded by the National Institutes of Health, saw the vitamin-D takers' cholesterol drop by 4.5 percent compared to those who just swallowed a placebo – a decline that the study's lead author, Dr. Peter Schnatz of the Jefferson Medical College, says is significant.
Even though the study was performed on women, Schnatz calls the results "encouraging" for men, noting that prior research shows daily vitamin D can help boost anyone's overall heart health. Still, he warns that people should never use a supplement in lieu of making lifestyle changes. "Physical activity, smoking cessation, diet – all those things should be frontline," he concludes.