Vitamin D: Sunshine’s helper in our body

Vitamin D: Sunshine’s helper in our body
Megan Johnson McCullough. Photo by Kathy Magerkurth

 

After getting blood work from their doctor, more and more people are finding deficiency in Vitamin D is being reported back. Our body actually makes vitamin D, but only after being exposed to necessary amounts of sunlight. Vitamin D awareness is important because of our bone and teeth health.

This supplement’s primary role is the responsibility for absorbing calcium and phosphate.  It has been reported that up to 40% of the U.S. population is lacking the proper amount in their body.

Deficiency in Vitamin D is linked to colon cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, depression, and weight gain. Recent studies have linked obesity to lower levels of vitamin D. This makes sense because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means it is stored in the liver and fatty tissue for future use. If it is not being used or absorbed properly, the liver is not able to perform all necessary functions with it.

Further studies are being performed to address whether excess belly fat decreases vitamin D levels or whether vitamin D is just being stored and not used in people with larger waistlines.

Consulting a doctor about your body’s specific daily need of vitamin D can help ward off lower levels. 400-800 IU or 10-20 micrograms is recommended per day. Fish, specifically tuna, salmon, oysters, herring, shrimp, sardines, and mackerel are good food sources. Egg yolk and mushrooms also have vitamin D. Milk does a body good with vitamin D. Dairy products can be fortified with vitamin D, such as some types of milk, soy milk, and cheeses. Breakfast items like orange juice, oatmeal, and cereal, all have vitamin D. Cod liver oil is a popular supplement to take for D.

Symptoms of insufficient vitamin D funds include bone pain and muscle weakness. Other culprits include Chron’s disease, celiac disease, and cystic fibrosis, which all inhibit the digestive tract’s absorption ability. Healthy kidney functioning is also needed for vitamin D utilization.

Soaking up sunshine is the best way to get vitamin D. This is not always possible for all people and we know that sun exposure can be risky in excessive amounts. Sunscreen actually blocks vitamin D absorption. Diet alone makes getting enough hard.

This is especially true for people following a vegan diet or that have milk allergies. The Lifestyle of the FIT and Healthy is proactive in getting their yearly physicals done including blood work in order to be aware of their body’s proper functioning and utilization of vitamins and minerals.

When signs and symptoms occur, action must be taken not delayed. For those of us in sunny San Diego, we can step outside all year round to meet that sunshine requirement. So go ahead and add Vitamin D as another reason to get up, get out, and move for your health.

1 Comment
  1. Marc 3 months ago

    Great article, although sun exposure has many health effects beyond vitamin D, including the production of endorphins, nitric oxide, serotonin and BDNF. Here are more facts about the marvelous health benefits of the sun: The sun is not the enemy; in fact, non-burning sun exposure is vital to human health. The research shows unequivocally that sun deprivation among children leads to myopia, rickets, and vitamin D deficiency. It is a mistake to advocate sun avoidance for our babies, children, or any other age group. Don’t take away sun exposure, just avoid sunburning. Much of the world is now vitamin D deficient, and for every death in the U.S. caused by diseases that are associated with sun exposure, there are about 328 deaths caused by diseases that are associated with sun deprivation. In the U.S, sun exposure has decreased by 90% since 1935. During that time the risk of melanoma has increased by 3,000%! Isn’t it interesting that each year the use of sunscreen increases, and each year the risk of contracting melanoma increases? It is not sun exposure that causes health problems; it is sun deprivation. And, it is leading to 336,000 deaths yearly in the U.S. There has also been an 8,300% increase in vitamin D deficiency in children since 2000, which is likely due to insufficient time playing outdoors and/or sunscreen use. So you see, all of this “protection” may be fatal. In addition, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released information that 73% of sunscreens don’t work and some may be counterproductive. Here are more facts you should know:
    •Seventy-five percent of melanoma occurs on areas of the body that are seldom or never exposed to sun
    •Women who sunbathe regularly have half the risk of death during a 20-year period compared to those who stay indoors.
    •A Spanish study shows that women who seek the sun have one-eleventh the hip-fracture risk as those who avoid sun.
    •Men who work outdoors have half the risk of melanoma as those who work indoors.
    •Women who avoid the sun have 10-times the risk of breast cancer as those who embrace the sun.
    •Women who sunbathe regularly have half the risk of death during a 20-year period compared to those who avoid the sun.
    •Sun exposure increases nitric oxide production, which leads to a decrease in heart disease risk.
    •Sun exposure dramatically improves mood through the production of serotonin and endorphin.
    •Sun exposure increases the production of BDNF, essential to a properly functioning nervous system.
    For more information: sunlightinstitute.org. Or, read Dr. Marc Sorenson’s new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon.

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