You should be comforted to know that you can improve your health and well-being with one of the most affordable remedies around – Vitamin D. Here we share some basic facts about Vitamin D, plus the 5 best ways to get Vitamin D naturally.
It's not surprising we feel so energized and lively after spending some time outdoors on a sunny day! Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, is one of the vitamins essential for good energy.
You likely already know Vitamin D is required to build strong bones and teeth. But recent research suggests that it could have a role in protecting you from some cancers, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and just about every other infectious and degenerative disease.
Vitamin D can be produced in the skin from the energy of the sun, and yet more than a billion people suffer from a deficiency.
14 Signs You May Be Vitamin Deficient
Some Basic Facts About Vitamin D
Know Your Own Body's Needs
The Institute of Medicine bases its recommendations on age. They suggest at least 400 IU from birth to 12 months, 600 IU for kids and adults, and 800 IU for seniors over 71. But to optimize your vitamin D levels other health care professionals suggest between 5,000 – 10000 IUs which is still regarded as safe, especially if you want to protect against disease.
While bone pain and muscle weakness are possible, the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are often subtle. Your health care provider can give you a simple blood test to be sure. It's called 25 hydroxyvitamin D test and blood levels of 20 nanograms per milliliter are usually considered healthy.
Vitamin D Risk Factors
As we get older, our kidneys have to work harder to convert Vitamin D into its active form, so we may need to supplement. The same is often true for moms breastfeeding their babies. Also people with darker skin, and people with conditions like Chron's disease or allergies to milk.
Older adults who have been housebound, hospitalized, or institutionalized for long periods face an increased risk of being deficient in Vitamin D. This is due to lack of the sun's rays, which is the primary source of Vitamin D.
Adding to this, as we age the skin's ability to absorb sunlight and product Vitamin D also decreases. An increased focus over the last 20 years or so on sun-related skin conditions has caused many people of all ages to avoid the sun's rays. This has led to a wide-spectrum deficiency of Vitamin D in all age groups, increasing vulnerability in many age-related diseases.
Talk To Your Health Care Provider
Some pharmaceuticals like steroids can lower your Vitamin D levels while others like statins can raise them. Your health care provider can help you find a safe level for your body.
Health and Well-being Benefits of Vitamin D
- Essential for healthy immune function and the lowering of inflammation in the body.
- Necessary for supporting the proper balance of several minerals in the body and wards off the flu and other viruses.
- It protects against muscle weakness and is involved in the regulation of the heartbeat.
- Necessary for healthy thyroid function and blood clotting
- Vitamin D is a hormone that strengthens bones and teeth to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Protects you from certain cancers, heart disease, asthma, Type 1 and 2 diabetes, and hypertension.
- Can help you to think and feel better by improving cognitive function and reducing depression.
5 Best Ways To Get Vitamin D Naturally
- Be wise about sun exposure. Your body is very efficient at making Vitamin D. So use a chemical-free mineral based sunscreen or shea butter to protect you from skin cancer and premature aging. About 10 minutes a day on your arms should be all you need, especially if you live in a warm, sunny climate.
- Drink Organic Milk. Since Only a few foods contain Vitamin D naturally, but many more are fortified with it. Almost all milk in milk in the US supplies at least 400 IU per quart, which is the main reason why the bone disease rickets has virtually disappeared.
- Eat More Fatty Fish. Fish and fish oil are among the most potent sources of Vitamin D. Three ounces of wild salmon (not farmed) will cover all your daily needs.
- Add these Vitamin D fortified foods to your diet. Excellent choices include: egg yolks, yogurt, orange juice, beef liver, cod liver oil, mushrooms, tofu, calf liver, duck and pork fat, some breakfast cereals. Check labels to be sure of what you're getting.
- Maintain a healthy Body Weight. Excess fat cells also block the absorption of Vitamin D. This is one more solid reason to watch your weight and exercise regularly.
Consider supplements. Supplements come in two forms. Both D2 and D3 versions are good for you but D3 is the better choice. It's closer to the natural vitamin D your body produces, so the effects are quick and last longer.
Vitamin D is important for your bones and overall health. Meet your requirements naturally through sensible sun exposure and a healthy diet or talk with your health care provider if you think you need to supplement.