Start summer early with a few minutes enjoying the midday sunshine to make a bounty of vitamin D. Fleeting, wild and desperately blazing, summer sun is really the most efficient way of the season to boost vitamin D levels in your neck of the woods.
Vitamin D is an oil-soluble vitamin best known for its vital role in bone formation by promoting calcium absorption in your body. But recent research suggests that Vitamin D is not simply an essential nutrient for strong bones, due to the increasingly indoor lifestyles, a deficiency of vitamin D is also blamed for the incidence of many modern diseases, including heart disease, immune dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and cancer in addition to the reappearance of rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. That’s because vitamin D functions as a pro-hormone with receptors in many tissues of your body, and also plays a part in gene transcription.
Vitamin D and Bone Health
Vitamin D deficiency can cause bone loss, lower bone density, and increase the possibility of bone breaking or fractures. Some demonstrated evidence show that the deficiency of vitamin D generally contributes to at least two metabolic bone diseases, osteomalacia and osteoporosis. Osteomalacia, or the so-called rickets in children, is caused by the delayed mineralization. Thus, your body needs vitamin D to help absorb the calcium and phosphorus you need to build strong bones.
Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized as a demyelinating disease in CNS, which results in a range of physical and metal symptoms, such as blindness in one eye, muscle weakness, trouble with coordination or sensation. Despite the fact that whether Vitamin D can effectively prevent Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or be used as a therapeutic drug for MS patients keeps unknown, strong evidence has shown that higher levels of vitamin D and increased levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] are both associated with a lower risk of MS. People are less likely to develop MS if they have higher vitamin D levels.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?
The U.S. recommended daily allowance (USRDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU per day for most children and adults under 70 years old. Infants under 1 year need 400 IU, while adults over 70 need at least 800 IU per day.
How to Get Vitamin D?
Sunlight: The easiest and most natural way to get vitamin D is to expose your skin to direct sunshine. It is estimated in recent studies that about 90 percent of human vitamin D are generated from sunlight exposure. The amount of vitamin D produced from sunshine depends on the intensity of the UVB in the sun and other factors. Darker-skinned people usually need much more exposure than a fair-skinned individual to produce the same amount of vitamin D.
Vitamin D Foods: Vitamin D is fat soluble, which means you need to eat fat to absorb it. Fortunately, a few foods are naturally composed of or fortified with vitamin D. For example, oily fish, fish roe, mushrooms, beef liver, eggs, orange juice, dairy products, etc.
Vitamin D Supplements: Vitamin D supplements are alternative means of enhancing Vitamin D levels. If you have low levels of vitamin D or suffer from any symptoms caused by lower vitamin D levels, your health care provider will recommend you to take some vitamin D supplements. However, you have to ask your doctors or health care providers for advice on how much to take, and keep in mind the maximum level is 4,000 IUs for adults, as too much D from dietary supplements may cause side effects or adverse reaction, such as anorexia, excessive urine output, heart arrhythmias, and kidney stones.