Vitamin D is a vital component to many areas of your health including bone density, muscle strength, immune health, brain function, and more. However, as recently as 2009 it was reported that nearly three-quarters of all teens and adults in US are vitamin D deficient. This is a critical area to address as the consequences can have far-ranging effects on your overall health.
Sun to Skin
Your body’s skin cells are able to produce vitamin D every time you step out into the sun, so it stands to reason that vitamin D should be easy to obtain. But those with darker skin and people who spend a lot on time indoors or in darker regions, may have a harder time absorbing enough sunlight to produce a proper amount of vitamin D. It is recommended to spend 15 to 30 minutes a few days a week outside in direct sunlight. However, UV rays can be harmful so health experts don’t often advise getting Vitamin D from sun exposure.
Just How Important Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is important right down to the core of your health. It influences everything from aiding calcium absorption for strong bones to supporting muscles and teeth. Vitamin D can also influence heart health. It has been studied for its ability to support healthy blood pressure levels, and promote healthy arteries and circulation. Recent studies have shown that it can also influence your auto-immune system’s health, aiding your body’s natural defenses. If supporting almost every aspect of your body wasn’t enough, vitamin D has also shown its merit in supporting the brain. Several studies have shown that sufficient levels of vitamin D can support brain function and cognitive health. It seems there is nothing this multipurpose vitamin can’t do, but are you getting enough?
Where Do I Get Vitamin D and How Much Do I Need?
Eating a healthy and balanced diet containing cereals and low-fat milk fortified with vitamin D can be a great way to start off your day. Many brands of orange juice also contain added vitamin D; just be wary of additives and sugar content. For dinner, if you’re looking to boost your vitamin D intake, certain fish, especially mackerel, salmon, tuna, and sardines can all provide healthy amounts of vitamin D. In addition, foods like eggs (especially the yolks), cheese, and yogurt can all help fortify your diet with the recommended amounts of vitamin D. How much you need depends on you as an individual. Age, nationality, and where you live can all factor into your recommended daily amount. While there is still some debate on how much vitamin D you should take, allowances ranging up to 4,000 IU’s a day are generally considered safe. For those who may have trouble getting enough vitamin D through their diet there are also many vitamin D supplements that can satisfy your daily needs. So be sure to stay up to date on how much you need, and continue to make the choices that give you all the nutrition you need to remain healthy each day!