Have you heard people refer to the sunshine as their source of Vitamin D? The sun isn’t actually the source of this fantastic vitamin, it just helps our skin produce it as a reaction to the exposure. How cool is that? We were designed to NEED the sunshine for our health! We can also get it through foods and supplements, especially when we are D-ficient. Ok, enough with the bad play on words, but really…this vitamin needs some press.
Vitamin D has several important roles. It’s most known for it’s role in regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Being deficient in Vitamin D can lead to soft and fragile bones. According to WebMD, there is also evidence that shows Vitamin D lowers the risk of type 1 diabetes, muscle and bone pain, lowers blood pressure, lowers the risk for multiple sclerosis, heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis and even some serious cancers. Wow! That’s quite a list!
There have been some studies in the last 10 years that have also suggested that Vitamin D can improve depression and help with weight loss through appetite control. One study suggested that Vitamin D may help with our body’s response to the influenza virus. It certainly has been found to support immune health!
This little vitamin is stacking up to D-liver quite an impressive resume of results!
So are you getting enough Vitamin D?
Many factors can affect your ability to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D through the sun alone. These factors include:
- Being in an area with high pollution or in an area with frequent overcast (ie: Missoula inversion)
- Using sunscreen
- Spending more time indoors
- Living in big cities where buildings block sunlight
- Having darker skin. (The higher the levels of melanin, the less vitamin D the skin can absorb.)
These factors contribute to vitamin D deficiency in an increasing number of people. That’s why it’s important to get some of your vitamin D from sources besides sunlight. Salmon, tuna, egg yolks and mushroom are all natural food sources with Vitamin D.
I think we can all conclude we need some sun time and sunshine often to activate this little superhero of a vitamin! Experts say 10-30 minutes of sun exposure, midday, several times a week is a good place to start. Have you gotten some sun today?