Are you getting enough Vitamin D? Also known as the Sunshine Vitamin, Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that influence over 2,000 genes in the body. Our skin produces Vitamin D in response to the sun hitting it. It’s also present in some foods naturally and several others that have been fortified, as well as in supplements.
Vitamin D is essential for overall health, as well as for strong, healthy bones and immune system functionality. It’s estimated that at least one-third of the U.S. population is deficient in Vitamin D. One could assume that living in Los Angeles sets the stage for a Vitamin D deficiency, but continue on, Livonia Glatt readers, and find out.
Vitamin D helps facilitate the intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus, as well as iron, magnesium and zinc. In its activated state, it also assists cells in communicating properly, while managing calcium levels throughout the body.
Calcium and phosphorus are critical for good bone health, and Vitamin D is essential for absorbing it. You can eat plenty of calcium and phosphorus, but without Vitamin D, it’s useless. Healthy bones need Vitamin D.
There’s a multitude of benefits beyond healthy bones that Vitamin D can provide. Some of the functions influenced by Vitamin D include:
Most of the Vitamin D deficiency common in society today comes from not absorbing enough sunshine. This can happen for many reasons. It’s important to mention here that the problem comes from the skin not absorbing enough sunlight; just being outside may not be sufficient.
While the fact that we stay inside more and cover up our bodies does play a significant role, here are several other factors:
Sunscreen. Sunscreen use blocks the UVB rays, which facilitate Vitamin D absorption. While sunscreen is important, allowing for 10-30 minutes of midday sun each day without it can give virtually all you need.
Vitamin D deficiency can take a variety of forms. Soft, brittle bones are a symptom of severe deficiency and can sometimes lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Deficiency has also been linked to several other conditions, including depression, high blood pressure, asthma, and some autoimmune diseases.
There are some natural food sources of Vitamin D; most are from oily fish, several types of mushrooms, egg yolks, fortified products, and cod liver oil. While the food we eat can be a source of Vitamin D, getting enough of it from food alone would be difficult. The best source is the sun, followed by supplements.
While there is some debate on how much is enough, The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences issued intake recommendations based on International Units (IU) per day. IU is a standard type of measurement for vitamins and drugs, which helps determine toxicity, recommended intake, and deficiency levels.
The recommended amounts are 600 IU for people under 70 and 800 IU for those older. However, these are just guidelines. Some sources recommend levels much higher, closer to 2000 IU per day. For best results, talk to your doctor. They can help you determine the right amount of Vitamin D for your body’s needs.
At Livonia Glatt Market, we are not sure how much sun you’re absorbing, but we do know that a fresh piece of salmon and some delightful mushrooms can make any dinner sunnier — and that has to be beneficial.
Resources:How do I get the Vitamin D my body needs?