Recently after a trip to the doctor I was surprised to find out that I was, in fact, deficient in that little thing we call vitamin D. I was shocked! With all the great nutrition and thinking I was doing the right thing, how could I be missing such an important nutrient? It turns out that I was in good company. Vitamin D is becoming one of the most popular vitamins to be deficient in and I can promise you it won’t get you on the red carpet or any recognition. Essentially it is difficult to tell whether or not you are deficient. I have been told I am the picture of health but blood tests do not lie. What is the big deal with this little vitamin and how can we get more of it?
Deficiencies in vitamin D can result in rickets or malformation of bones in children and bone density loss in adults. Additionally it has been known to be a cause of seasonal affective disorder or SAD, depression, PMS and fatigue.
Vitamin D levels can increase in two ways : vitamin D synthesis in the body is produced from exposure to sunshine and vitamin D can be supplemented from food sources. It is a fat soluble vitamin that is best absorbed in your skin, the largest organ in the body, through sunlight. Most physicians recommend 10-15 minutes of unprotected sun twice per day for light skinned individuals and 30-40 minutes for dark skinned individuals. As long as the hours of 12PM-3PM (generally) are avoided during peak summer months (check the times for your area). That makes things difficult for those of us who work at desk jobs and break for lunch right smack in the middle of the heightened UV index from 12PM-3PM where risk of skin cancer is higher. What’s one to do to get that little vitamin infused in your system? I recommend parking 15 min away from your office so you get your dose of sunshine before and after work. When you go out during lunch during Summer please use sun protection. Not only does it keep you looking young, but you also get the added benefit of lowering your risk for skin cancer. You can also download a free app on your iPhone called “Sun Smart” which determines when the UV index is highest in your area. When it’s highest, that’s the time to lather up with some sunscreen.
The second best way to get your vitamin D is through supplementation or diet. One of the highest dietary forms of vitamin D can be found in foods such as eggs, liver, fatty fish and mushrooms. If liver, which has one of the highest amounts of dietary vitamin D, isn’t something that finds its way to your plate often, vitamin D supplementation and consuming foods fortified with vitamin D are the best way to go. You can get vitamin D tablets or take cod liver oil supplements. One of the great things about cod liver oil is that is also contains Omega 3 fatty acids so you can kill two birds with one stone 🙂
Sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it?
On a personal note once I got my vitamin D levels up I noticed improved mood, way less PMS and more energy. Have you had your vitamin D levels checked lately? It is well worth your while. Not only do adequate levels of this vitamin result in all the above great benefits but it also lowers your risk for overall cancer.
Nutritiongal – AADP Certified Health Coach
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