Regular doses of vitamin D can extend life expectancy, according to new research.
Dubbed the 'sunshine vitamin' because it is produced following solar exposure, vitamin D consumption has long been associated with a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Now, researchers think the vitamin might block cancer cells from spreading, improve the functioning of blood cells or boost the immune system.
However, Philippe Autier of the International Agency for Cancer Research in France and Sara Gandini of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan stressed that the mechanism was "not clear".
Autier and Gandini conducted a massive 'meta-analysis' of 18 previously published studies involving 57,311 participants.
They found that those who took vitamin D had a seven percent lower risk of death than those who did not.
"In conclusion, the intake of ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements seems to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates," they write.
Vitamin D is important in maintaining healthy teeth, bones and nerve cells and also has a critical role in the regulation of the immune system.