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‘Tis the Season for Joy and Vitamin D
The year-end holidays are a wonderful time to spend with family and friends. But spending more time with people also means we are exposed to colds and flu. This year very high levels of influenza are expected. You can decrease your susceptibility to colds and flu by maintaining Vitamin D levels.
The easiest way to get Vitamin D is sunlight. Unfortunately, after September 20th (the autumnal equinox) the specific ultraviolet rays that we absorb to make Vitamin D from the sun do not penetrate the earth’s atmosphere above the 35th latitude (Atlanta, Georgia). This means that people who live in New England could stand outside naked all day and never absorb sunlight to make any vitamin D. Supplementation is the only solution.
The Basics About Vitamin D – Here’s What You Need to Know!
Vitamin D is one of the most essential vitamins for our bodies. Vitamins are substances which our bodies consume for energy production, growth, and proper bodily functions.
What Does Vitamin D Do for Me?
Vitamin D has a variety of different functions in our bodies. One of the primary purposes of vitamin D is to promote healthy bone growth. Vitamin D helps promote calcium absorption and maintain adequate levels of minerals such as phosphorous and calcium in our bones.
Vitamin D also helps control blood pressure and promotes skeletal, nervous, and muscular health.
Vitamin D when used in combination with Vitamin A acts like a hormone, instantly signaling the immune system to ramp-up against bacteria and viruses.
How Can I Get Vitamin D – And How Much Do I Really Need?
There are only three ways to get vitamin D, and it’s recommended that healthy adults consume at least 800 IU of vitamin D every day. In New England it is very appropriate for adults to consume 2,000 IU of Vitamin D.
- Through your skin – Vitamin D is often known as the “sunshine vitamin”, because our body naturally produces it when we are exposed to the sun. 15-30 minutes of midday sun exposure in the spring through the fall will provide you with 10,000 IU of vitamin D, which is more than enough for your daily requirements.
- In your diet – Actually, there are very few sources of food that are naturally high in vitamin D. Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish have some vitamin D, as do foods like liver and egg yolks. Dairy products like yogurt and milk usually don’t naturally have vitamin D, but they are often “fortified” with vitamin D supplements.
- Through vitamin supplements – Since it is difficult to get enough vitamin D in your daily diet and can’t get it through sun exposure, supplements are a good choice. Family and Environmental Medicine carries a 2,000 iu capsule in its online pharmacy.
What Are The Signs Of Vitamin D Deficiency?
If you are elderly, obese, get little sun exposure, or have certain conditions like inflammatory bowel diseases, you may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Here are the most common symptoms:
- A weakened immune system
- Bone and back pain
- Slow wound healing
- Bone/hair loss
- Muscular pain
If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it is critical to assess your Vitamin D blood levels. We recommend that our patients have their Vitamin D blood levels checked at least annually.
How Important is it to Address Vitamin D Deficiency?
A chronic deficiency in Vitamin causes rickets (a softening of bone tissue) and is also associated with chronic conditions such as:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure