Vitamin D is Important to Your Health

Just how important is Vitamin D? A deficiency can cause rickets in children and contribute to osteoporosis in adults. Vitamin D’s primary function is to assist calcium and phosphorus get to the proper places to help bone growth in children and adult bones remineralize. But new reports are showing that Vitamin D may also help treat ailments such as breast and colon cancers as well as depression.

How much Vitamin D is necessary? Currently, the minimum dosage is 200 international units (IU). There are reports, however, that declare the necessary intake for disease prevention and optimal immune function is 800 IU a day. Take caution, though. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and therefore is stored in the soft tissues of the body. Excessive amounts can be toxic and cause irreversible kidney damage and cardiovascular problems. Never take more than the recommended 800 IU/day dosage.

With the diagnosis of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome on the rise, more and more holistic health practitioners are looking at the Vitamin D levels in an individual’s blood tests. Deficiencies in Vitamin D contribute to the ailment, but the connection is still unclear. Typically, people with a Vitamin D deficiency exhibit some or most of the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, such as depression and weakened immune systems. Not everyone with a Vitamin D deficiency may have these symptoms, so it is best to get a blood test to make sure your levels are within the ideal range, which is 32 ng/ml for an adult.

Since Vitamin D needs sunlight to synthesize in the body, minimal exposure with sunscreen is ideal. The recommended amount of time is no more than 30 minutes on the face, arms or legs a day, two times a week. This amount of time in the sun with sunscreen does not put you at risk for skin cancer if you avoid exposure when the UV rays are at their highest, which is 12-2PM.

Which foods are Vitamin D rich? A tip: look for foods that contain Vitamin D3, as this type is synthesized by the body easier. An obvious choice is fortified skim milk. If you are lactose intolerant, soy milk is a healthy alternative. Also, fish such as tuna and salmon are good choices. You can also find Vitamin D in cereals, cheese, eggs and yogurt.

Eating a balanced diet including foods that contain Vitamin D is a step in the right direction to ensuring you are getting the proper amounts of this essential vitamin. However, you will not get the proper amounts needed by diet alone. Exposure to sunlight is absolutely necessary in order to trigger Vitamin D synthesis. Morning and late afternoon times are best for exposure because UV rays are not at their peak during these times. Be responsible with the amount of sun exposure you get and be sure to wear a minimum of SPF 15 while in the sun.