Have you had blood work come back from your annual physical exam showing you are deficient in vitamin D? You’re not alone. Through conversations around the office and an unofficial poll of adult family and friends, it seems many folks in our circle share the same issue. We know that vitamin D levels are related to sun exposure; so this deficiency was especially shocking because SCNS HQ is in sunny southern California!
*“Some reports suggest nearly half the world’s population suffers from vitamin D deficiency.”
We researched to learn more about how we get vitamin D, why we need it and how much we should have every day. Its production is fascinating and its role in our overall health is quite significant.
HOW DO WE NATURALLY GET VITAMIN D?
It’s important to know is you cannot get the amount of vitamin D you need from food – unless it is added as a supplement.
The most natural way to get vitamin D is from ultraviolet b rays (UVB). That translates to direct sun on the skin. Vitamin D is considered a pro-hormone and not actually a vitamin, because the body is capable of producing its own vitamin D through the action of sunlight on the skin
When UVB rays hit your skin, it triggers an incredible chain of processes. Initially, it begins as a chemical reaction that turns UVB into a pre-vitamin form of vitamin D3. After more synthesizing, the last stages pass the pre-vitamin through the liver – and finally, the kidneys convert the hormone into a form of vitamin D your body can use.
The paler your skin type the more easily your skin can produce vitamin D. If you have very fair skin, you produce vitamin D more quickly than if you have dark skin. For example, if your skin is pale, it might take around fifteen minutes of sun exposure to get the vitamin D you need, while for those with very dark skin, it might take up two hours.
WHAT DOES VITAMIN D DO FOR US?
Our bodies seriously need vitamin D. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium and phosphorous for strong bones and teeth. Studies suggest maintaining a healthy level of vitamin D can aide in protecting us against several diseases and conditions.
Vitamin D helps:
- – Maintain the health of bones and teeth
- – Support the health of the immune system, brain and nervous system
- – Regulate insulin levels and aid diabetes management
- – Support lung function and cardiovascular health
- – Influence the expression of genes involved in cancer development.
HOW MUCH VITAMIN D DO WE NEED?
In doing the research, there was a range of suggestions. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D varied a bit by source. Below is a comparison from various organizations.
|Vitamin D Council||Endocrine Society||Food & Nutrition Board|
|Infants||1,000 IU/day||400-1,000 IU/day||400 IU/day|
|Children||1,000 IU/day per 25lbs of body weight||600-1,000 IU/day||600 IU/day|
|Adults||5,000 IU/day||1,500-2,000 IU/day||600 IU/day, 800 IU/day for seniors|
SYMPTOMS OF VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY
Every cell in our bodies has a receptor for vitamin D. So, you can imagine the slew of varied symptoms that can occur when we are deficient:
Signs of a lack of vitamin D:
- Getting sick and infected often
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Bone and back pain
- Impaired wound healing
- Bone loss
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
EASY FIXES FOR VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY
First, if you are showing any of the mentioned symptoms, always check with your doctor. The symptoms can be subtle and oftentimes people think, “It’s just the way I am.”
The good news is a lack of vitamin D is easy to correct! Look for food and beverages enriched with vitamin D. Take a supplement based on your doctor’s recommendation.
…And of course, get more sun! The weather is warming up making it an ideal time to increase sun exposure. So, get out there and enjoy – and don’t forget to grab your favorite 1st Tee bar or 10th Tee bar on the way out!
*quote source: www.health.usnews.com