When I say vitamin D, I’d venture to guess that either “sunshine” or “bones” come to mind. I know that’s what I initially thought of anyways. The only real job I thought vitamin D has was to keep our bones strong. And if I consumed enough dairy products, I’d be okay. Boy, was I wrong! When I started doing research on the importance of vitamin D for our bodies, I was blown away by how misunderstood vitamin D actually is!
What does Vitamin D Do?
Other than keeping our bones strong by helping our bodies absorb calcium, vitamin D is responsible for helping our immune system fight off viruses and bacteria, helping our muscles move, and allowing our nerves to carry messages from our brain to our body. Vitamin D is in every single cell of our body, and can affect numerous health outcomes if we are deficient.
A vitamin D deficiency can contribute to an increased risk of rickets, allergies, certain cancers, chronic pain, colds & flu, eczema, preterm birth, cardiovascular disease, depression, and dental cavities to name a few. In fact, people who live in climates with the most sunshine have lower rates of prostate, colon, and breast cancer.
How to Get More Vitamin D
So how do you get more vitamin D? Go to the best source - the sun!
Check out my sunscreen blog for tips on how to safely tan and not burn. We need to protect our skin, but we shouldn’t be afraid of sun exposure! The best UV rays are available between the hours of 10AM – 2PM. That is when we should aim to be out in the sun for the most benefit. Experts in the field recommend 40-60 ng/ml of serum vitamin D level; that is much higher than what the FDA recommends. Get your level checked so you know where you stand!
Salmon, as well as certain fortified products, are an excellent source of vitamin D if you are looking to increase your levels by diet. Supplements are also available, but should be monitored by your doctor before starting any new regimen.
With vitamin D impacting nearly every cell within us, don’t you want to make sure you are getting enough?
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Prime-Time Health by Dr. William Sears