Do You Need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is one of the most essential vitamins needed to support various important body functions. So why is vitamin D so important and how can you get more of this important nutrient naturally? Read on to learn more.
Why Vitamin D is Essential
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient needed to support proper bodily functions such as:
- Regulating your calcium level
- Essential for healthy bone formation
- Strengthens immunity
- Protects body from infection & illness
- Reduces inflammation & autoimmune response
- Improves mood
- Defends cells against cancer
How is Vitamin D Produced?
The human body normally can produce vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. There are very food sources that contain vitamin D, except for the liver of fatty fish. In this way, areas that don't produce strong sunlight throughout the year, such as the Arctic area, can still obtain the vitamin they need through these marine foods that are rich in Vitamin D. In modern times, our lifestyle has a tremendous impact on the amount of vitamin D our body needs. People nowadays spend most of their time indoors, cover up & sunscreen, as well as eat a diet that doesn't contain much vitamin D.
Do I Have Vitamin D Deficiency?
Probably yes. In fact, it is one of the most common deficiency among adults today. So how do you know whether you are vitamin D deficient? The following are a few common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency:
- Getting sick often
- Trouble fighting off infection
- Bone loss (osteoporosis)
- Hair Loss
- Slow healing of wounds
- Increased muscle & back pain
If you suspect that you are vitamin D deficient, check with your doctor and ask for a test to see. If your levels are low, there are many ways you can raise it by adjusting your lifestyle habits and nutrition.
Natural Sources of Vitamin D
There a few ways you can help raise your vitamin D levels natural. The following are a few primary ways:
Of course, the best natural method of obtaining vitamin D is through sunlight. The amount of exposure you need varies with how strong the sunlight is, pollution, skin color, and so forth. For reference, those with lighter skin tones need about 30 minutes of sunlight. As for those with darker skin tones, they may need more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D, up to 2 hours, for the same effect. This is because those with darker skin have higher levels of melanin, which helps protect the skin cells from sun damage. Since sun damage & skin cancer are serious concerns when it comes to sun exposure, make sure that your sun exposure does not cause sun burns. You may need to slowly work your way up to the recommended number of hours in the sun if you are not normally used to being the sun regularly.
- Since vitamin D is synthesized from UVB rays, they cannot penetrate glass. So if you're sitting in the sunlight of a sunny window, although it might make you feel good, it's not helping you to synthesize vitamin D.
- If you are covered up with only your face and hands showing, that can also lower the amount of Vitamin D your body can produce than if you were out in a bathing suit.
- UVB tanning beds can be a method of obtaining vitamin D, it should be use carefully and minimally. You can achieve the same effect with considerably less exposure than in a tanning bed to achieve the same effect as natural light.
There aren't many food sources containing sufficient levels of vitamin D, however the best food sources are:
- Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, herring, tuna)
- Cod liver oil
- Egg Yolks (Pasture-raised)
- Fortified foods (cow's milk, soy milk fortified with vitamin D)
If the above food sources aren't really your cup of tea or your lifestyle just doesn't allot you the time to get the needed daily sunlight, then you can consider supplementing vitamin D. Check with your doctor to see what is your ideal daily intake. Our favorite supplement that helps support your vitamin D intake is FarmHaven's Magnesium Complex with added Vitamin D3
We hope that this article has helped answer some of your questions regarding Vitamin D. Talk to your doctor about testing your vitamin D levels and for more information regarding supplementing with vitamin D.