Hint: Your Body Uses It To Make Vitamin D
There’s a reason why vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin.” Our amazing bodies must know that it’s important for our health, because they produce it in response to sun exposure, specifically UVB rays.
Below are some of the reasons why vitamin D is so important and how to be sure you’re getting enough.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D
- Helps maintain healthy bones and teeth
- Supports the health of the immune system, brain and nervous system
- Regulates insulin levels and aids diabetes management
- Supports lung function and cardiovascular health
- Reduces inflammation
- May play a role in the prevention of colon, prostate and breast cancers
But if you’re like most people (including me), you may find it difficult to get enough vitamin D. In fact, one study reports a worldwide epidemic in vitamin D deficiency, even in areas with plenty of sunshine. And for those who are older or who have darker skin pigmentation, getting enough vitamin D can be especially challenging.
While study is ongoing, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to colon cancer, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, weight gain, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma severity, rickets and even swine flu.
How to Get Enough Vitamin D
OK, so knowing how important it is to get vitamin D—and that most people don’t get enough—what can you do to help ensure an adequate daily supply of vitamin D? Here are a few suggestions:
- Whenever possible, choose food high in vitamin D such as: wild-caught salmon, trout, mackerel, canned tuna and eel; egg yolks; mushroom grown in ultra-violet light; cereals, dairy products and orange juices fortified with vitamin D; and beef or calf liver.
- Supplement with a good multivitamin or cod-liver oil. Check with your doctor before choosing a dosage; too much vitamin D can be toxic.
- Good ole sunshine! Anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of unprotected exposure two or three times a week should be enough. But beware of over-exposure: Too much sun can do some serious damage, so you’ll want to use a good mineral-based sunscreen if you’re going to be outdoors longer than 20 – 25 minutes. (Note: chemical-based sunscreens can absorb into the bloodstream.)
- Vitamin D Deficiency- An Ignored Epidemic
- Vitamin D: Health benefits, facts, and research
- Vitamin D — Health Professional Fact Sheet
- Sunscreen Chemicals Soak All the Way Into Your Bloodstream | WIRED
- Effect of Sunscreen Application Under Maximal Use Conditions on Plasma Concentration of Sunscreen Active Ingredients: A Randomized Clinical Trial | Cancer Screening, Prevention, Control | JAMA | JAMA Network
- How Much Time in the Sun Do You Need for Vitamin D? | Wellness | US News
- How to Protect Your Family from Sun Damage | Norwex Movement