The Importance of Vitamin D…and the Reason You Likely Aren’t Getting Enough
Every time I talk about vitamin D I hear that old 80’s classic playing in my head…
I’m walking on sunshine…and don’t it feel good?
That’s because exposure to sunshine is one of the best ways to boost your vitamin D levels. And if you’re wondering whether vitamin D is really that important, let me assure you—yes, yes, yes!
Today, I’ll share why vitamin D is critical for overall health and share ways to improve your levels. Let’s dive in!
What’s the Big Deal with Vitamin D?
Technically speaking, vitamin D isn’t really a vitamin because it is produced by our own bodies. When we are exposed to sunlight, the sun’s energy turns a chemical found in our skin into vitamin D. It is then sent to our liver and kidneys.
Maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D is critical for good bone health because vitamin D increases your body’s absorption of calcium. Getting enough vitamin D reduces your risk of developing osteomalacia and osteoporosis and suffering from bone fractures. Research has also shown a correlation between low vitamin D levels and a decline in cognitive health.
How Can I Increase My Vitamin D Levels?
There are three ways to supplement vitamin D: sunshine, sustenance, and supplements.
- Start Walking on Sunshine – Sorry…the song is stuck in my head! But seriously, getting outside in sunlight is an easy way to boost vitamin D levels. And it doesn’t take much exposure—10 – 30 minutes of sunlight can do the trick.
It’s important to note sunscreen blocks the absorption of vitamin D because it prevents UVA and UVB rays from penetrating the skin. However, sunscreen is SO important for protecting your skin from dangerous melanomas and other damage. Don’t lay out unprotected for an extended period thinking you’re doing yourself a favor. Spend a few minutes in the sunlight, then slather that sunscreen on.
- Eat Foods High in Vitamin D – Egg yolks are a great source of vitamin D, and research indicates free-range eggs (laid by chickens living outdoors) have 3 – 4 times the amount of vitamin D as those eggs laid by indoor chickens.
Fatty fish and seafood are also excellent sources of vitamin D. Again, wild-caught salmon has been found to have higher levels of vitamin D than farm-raised fish. Other options include tuna, anchovies, oysters, and shrimp.
- Take a Vitamin D Supplement – Even if you’re getting outdoors regularly and eating the right foods, it can be hard to get enough vitamin D into your diet. Talk to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement. According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 600 international units (IU) for adults up to 70 years old, and 800 IU for people over age 70.
Vitamin D is a necessary nutrient and, if you’re like most of the people in the world who spend most of their day indoors, odds are you aren’t getting enough. The good news is, with minimal effort you can ensure your vitamin D levels stay high and your bones stay strong.
So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy some vitamin-rich foods and start walking on sunshine. I promise, it will have you singing…and don’t it feel good!