Vitamin D is a nutrient that is beneficial in protecting the bones, the brain and even the heart. Some studies suggest that having sufficient levels can help a person to live longer. When skin is exposed to sunlight, it absorbs the free nutrients called Vitamin D. It seems easy enough, but surprisingly many people are deficient in this much needed vitamin.
The body must have vitamin D
Vitamin D has been known to help regulate blood pressure and weight. It is also helpful in absorbing calcium that in return makes the bones strong. Some studies have proven that having adequate levels can help to prevent deadly conditions like cancer and even heart disease. When the body is deficient in this nutrient, it can cause depression, poor mood, osteoporosis and muscle weakness. It seems this little vitamin has a big impact on the body.
The body naturally makes vitamin D, but it requires sunlight to do so. To get levels where they need to be, a person should spend about five to thirty minutes outside a couple times a week. The dangerous part is a person cannot put on sunscreen and they are exposing their skin to UVA and UVB rays. Those who have darker skin, or live in a place that has little sunshine, may require the assistance of a supplement to maintain their levels.
While the sun is a great source of vitamin D, food is another great resource. Fish is very good for the body, and it also includes ample amounts of vitamin D. Adding tuna, salmon and sardines to the diet can do wonders for the body. Eggs and dairy products also have a good amount of this nutrient. Though food is helpful, the recommended dosage of 600 IU’s for an adult probably cannot be reached by modifying the diet alone.
How to know when levels are Low
Having an extreme deficiency is rare, but those who observe a vegan lifestyle could be at risk. As a person ages, there kidneys become weak and the process of making vitamin D is decreased. Those who are overweight are also at risk, the vitamin is leached out by fat. Most people aren’t low, but they aren’t at optimal levels either.
There are many signs that point to a vitamin d deficiency. One of the first things noticed is a poor mood. Those who are having problems with their blood pressure, have weak bones or just feel overall tired, could find a deficiency of this vital nutrient to blame. The government recommends that doctors check for vitamin D levels with routine blood screens.
If a person is healthy, they can get screened much less than a person who is not. When levels become extremely low, it is best to take a supplement. While eating foods rich in this nutrient will help, they cannot work miracles. The doctor can evaluate the risk factors and the symptoms and see if a supplement is the only answer. A diet with proper amounts of vitamin D, healthy doses of sunshine and a supplement may be the answer to optimal health.
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