You probably know that vitamin D is important for strong bones, but new research shows that it packs many additional health benefits. “Vitamin D does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Even though our bodies make this nutrient naturally when we’re exposed to sunlight, more than one billion people worldwide suffer from a deficiency.

These are the basic facts about vitamin D and easy ways to ensure you’re getting enough.

Basic Facts About Vitamin D

 Understand how vitamin D strengthens your bones. Vitamin D controls calcium absorption and builds strong bones and teeth while reducing your risk of osteoporosis.

  1. Protect your physical health. Studies are discovering more good stuff about the sunshine vitamin. It can also help protect you from certain cancers, heart disease, asthma, type 1 and type 2 diabetes and hypertension. 
  2. Learn about the mental health benefits. Vitamin D may also help you to think and feel better. In older adults, it’s been found effective in improving cognitive functions and alleviating depression.
  3. Recognize the risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. As we age, our kidneys must work harder to convert vitamin D into its active form, so we may need supplements. The same is often true for mothers breastfeeding infants, people with darker skin, and those with conditions like Crohn’s disease or lactose intolerance.
  4. Get tested. While bone pain and muscle weakness are possible, the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are often very subtle. Your doctor can give you a simple blood test to be sure. It’s called a 25 hydroxyvitamin D test and blood levels of 20 nanograms per milliliter are usually considered healthy.
  5. Talk with your doctor about drug interactions. Some drugs like steroids can lower vitamin D levels while others like statins can raise them. Your doctor can help you find a safe level for you. 

Easy Ways to Get Enough Vitamin D

  1. Be smart about sun exposure. Our bodies are very efficient at making vitamin D, so keep using your sunscreen to prevent skin cancer and premature aging. About 10 minutes a day on your arms may be all you need, especially if you live in a sunny climate. 
  2. Eat more fatty fish. Fish and fish oil are among the most potent sources of vitamin D. Three ounces of salmon will cover all your daily needs.
  3. Maintain a healthy body weight. Excess fat cells also block the absorption of vitamin D. That’s one more good reason to watch your nutrition and exercise regularly. If you need help with this, find a Nutrition Response Testing practitioner and get a personalized nutrition plan specifically for your body’s needs.
  4. Consider supplements. Supplements come in many forms. Most brands you can buy over the counter are synthetic vitamins.  Look for supplements that are made from whole food. They are easily absorbed and work effectively. 

Vitamin D is important for your bones and overall health and it’s been shown to be helpful in the current pandemic. Meet your requirements through sensible sun exposure and a healthy diet.

Talk with your nutritionist, so you get the right whole food supplements to give your body the nutrients it needs.

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