We have advocated taking vitamin D for its host of benefits that include enhanced muscle strength, fat loss, bone health, immune function and mental health.

Now new research from the Cooper Institute (Dallas, Texas) shows another reason you should be getting ample vitamin D — cardiovascular fitness.

The researchers reported in a 2011 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise that men with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had less body fat and greater cardiovascular fitness. So it seems that getting plenty of D can help keep you leaner and fitter, which not only is important for your physique but your heart health and overall well being.

FLEX recommends getting in 2,000–5,000 international units of vitamin D per day, taken with meals.

REFERENCE: S.W. Ferrell, “Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Adiposity, and Serum 25-Dihydroxyvitamin D Levels in Men,” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(2):266–71, 2011.