Most of us know we need Vitamin D but are not really sure why or how much we should be consuming. If you have had a series of infections lately, are afraid of catching a flu bug, have a history of heart problems or bone disease then you should ensure that you are taking in enough Vitamin D.
We get Vitamin D by exposing our skin to the sun without sunscreens as they block the UVB rays necessary for the conversion to Vitamin D. In the geographical area that we live in (South Western Ontario) it is almost impossible for us to take in enough Vitamin D from the sun throughout the year. We would need to sit in the sun for approximately 15 – 20 minutes at noon with a bathing suit on to accumulate sufficient levels.
We do take in some Vitamin D from the foods that we eat however, these levels are also insufficient to provide us with adequate amounts. Food sources include salmon, sardines, egg yolk, shrimp, fortified milk, cereal, yogurt and orange juice.
Why do we need more Vitamin D? To prevent infections – it is immune boosting; for stronger bones when you are young and old – it helps your body regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus so is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth; a deficiency may affect your cardiovascular system and increase your chances of developing auto-immune diseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
To ensure that you have sufficient levels of Vitamin D in your body, ideally we would all have our blood tested a few times a year. This is not possible for most of us though so, get out and walk when you can with your arms and legs exposed, eat foods high in Vitamin D as previously noted, and take a supplement.
Vitamin D in the form of D3 (when sunlight hits our skin this is the form that we produce in our bodies) is the most “natural” form. During the warmer months, from May to October, less will be needed then during the remaining months. Amounts will vary depending upon body size, skin colour, etc. so check with a health Practioner for recommendations.
A great website for more information on Vitamin D is www.grassrootshealth.net. You can even order a Vitamin D blood test through the site.
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