VITAMIN D BENEFITS
It is known as the sunshine vitamin, because when human skin is exposed to sunlight, the body responds by producing vitamin D. Just about 15 minutes of sun exposure, yields more than enough for the daily requirement. It is a nutrient found in some foods that is needed for health and to maintain strong bones. It does so by helping the body absorb calcium (one of bone’s main building blocks) from food and supplements.
Vitamin D is found in cells throughout the body and is important in many other ways as well. Muscles need it to move, for example, nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.
Vitamin D Deficiency
What happens if we do not get enough vitamin D? . . . in the short term . . . nothing. However, in the long term; symptoms and diseases that cause bones to become soft, thin, and brittle; such as rickets in children (rare, but still exists) and osteomalacia in adults, can develop.
According to the IOM (Institute of Medicine), the recommended dietary allowance of Vitamin D for the average adult is 600 IUs. If you are over 70, bump it up to 800 IUs daily. But if you are not a fan of sun bathing, have dairy allergies, or you follow a strict vegan diet, it may present a challenge for you. Here are some ideas to help you out!
- Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources.
- Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts.
- Mushrooms provide some vitamin D. In some mushrooms that are newly available in stores, the vitamin D content is being boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light.
- Almost all of the U.S. cows milk supply is fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart. But foods made from cows milk, such as cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified.
- Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, etc; check the labels.
image: totalapproachhealth and forbes.com