Boy do we need some sunshine!
After such a lousy winter in the US, it’s time the think of something brighter…and the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Vitamin D is SUNSHINE!
Many health experts consider the benefits of vitamin D to be one of the most important health discoveries in the last century! How amazing is that? Every time we pick up a newspaper or magazine there is some article raving about Vitamin D and the illnesses that could develop with deficiencies. Doctors are routinely testing for Vitamin D at physicals now.
As a redhead I tend to wear a lot of sunscreen and chase after my kids with sunscreen and hats (2 out of 4 are red and fair). Maybe it’s time to let a little sun shine on my shoulders, and I stress little, as we know that too much sun can damage skin and potentially put you at risk for other problems.
Vitamin D is found in 2 forms. Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol), is made by plants. You can find it in foods that have been fortified, such as juices, milk, or cereals (not really the best source). However, Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), the most complete form of Vitamin D, is made when the skin is exposed to sun.
We’ve been somewhat “brain-washed” by the media to think that all sun exposure is bad. This is NOT TRUE! Getting 15 minutes of direct sunlight on unprotected skin is usually enough to get in your daily dose. Nature is your best bet for Vitamin D. Including foods in your diet that contain vitamin D, like fish (wild salmon, tuna), cod liver oil, milk, eggs, fresh fruits, and vegetables will also help. Unfortunately, as we age many of us cannot get enough Vitamin D through food sources or sun exposure. :(:(
It is estimated that up to 2/3 of the population is Vitamin D deficient and needs to take a Vitamin D3 supplement. Keep in mind that it is a fat-soluble vitamin and should be taken with a meal for the best absorption possible.
So what are some of the benefits?
As you can see, Vitamin D is absolutely necessary for good health & the list of benefits just keeps on GROWING.
How do I know if I am getting enough?
Have a blood test called 25(OH). It is the ONLY blood test out there that measures the amount of Vitamin D to determine if you are getting enough or not. This test is especially important if you have family history of cancer or autoimmune disease. As always, speak with your health care professional about whether or not you need supplementation.
(Sources and more info: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/05/28/vitamin-d-deficiency-signs-symptoms.aspx, http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/ )
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