Studies show you should mix vitamin D and exercise to make your heart healthier.  Yet winter is upon us, hiding your greatest source of it behind gloomy clouds. Admittedly, vitamin D’s affect on your health has been on a roller coaster ride lately. Some say high levels can lower cancer risk, lead to longer life and make colds disappear faster. However, recent studies show people are getting tested too much for the nutrient, and these benefits haven’t yet been proven.

FINDING THE TRUTH

No one is quite sure yet if vitamin D can help combat so many ailment. So, scientists at Johns Hopkins University released a survey responses from over 10,000 Americans spanning  20 years. They looked at the way vitamin D levels and exercise amounts affect heart health. There was a relationship between the exercise and vitamin D that supersedes the health benefits of either by itself.

The more the subjects exercised, the more vitamin D was in their blood. What’s more, the most active people—who also had the highest vitamin D amounts—ended up with the lowest risk of developing heart disease in the future. No surprise that’s a big plus for your heart health.

“In our study, both failure to meet the recommended physical activity levels and having vitamin D deficiency were very common,” said study co-author Erin Michos. “The bottom line is we need to encourage people to move more in the name of heart health.”

HOW TO GET YOURS

She also noted that there’s no need to have vitamin D levels in your blood over 20 nanograms per milliliter. The best way to up your level isn’t by taking a supplement. Rather get plenty of sun (a few minutes a day), eat a healthy diet with plenty of whole foods (sardines, mackerel, tuna, eggs and mushrooms) and keep exercising.   All of that will main your weight within the healthy range for your height, another plus for keeping your heart healthier.