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Vitamin D the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’.

Did you know that Vitamin D affects up to 2,000 genes in the body.
Vitamin D has many important functions, it fights against certain disease and helps the normal growth and development of bones and teeth. Without this you are at risk of developing bone abnormalities (Osteoporosis or Osteomalacia). Vitamin D absorbs calcium and phosphorous which contributes towards a normal immune system.

Vitamin D fights disease

Vitamin D may help:

  • reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis
  • decrease the chance of developing heart disease
  • help to reduce the likelihood of developing the flu

Vitamin D fights depression

Vitamin D helps regulate mood and depression. People taking vitamin D supplements
noticed an improvement in their symptoms.

Research also shows that people with Fibromyalgia who experience anxiety and depression are more common to have vitamin deficiency.

Vitamin D boosts weight loss

To prevent heart disease or even if you’re trying to lose weight, maybe consider adding vitamin D supplements to your diet.

How do you get it? The body produces vitamin D naturally when it is directly exposed to sunlight. A small amount of sunlight can go a long way, all you need is as little as 10 minutes a day or midday sun light.

You can also get vitamin D through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D in the blood.

Beware of “D-ficiency”

Many lifestyle and environmental factors can affect your ability to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D through the sun alone. These factors include:

  • pollution
  • use of sunscreen
  • spending more time indoors
  • living in big cities where buildings block sunlight
  • having darker skin

These factors contribute to vitamin D deficiency in an increasing number of people. That’s why it’s important to get some of your vitamin D from sources besides sunlight.

The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency in adults include:

  • general tiredness, aches and pains, and a general sense of not feeling well
  • severe bone or muscle pain or weakness that may cause difficulty climbing stairs or getting up from the floor or a low chair, or cause the person to walk with a waddling gait
  • stress fractures, especially in the legs, pelvis, and hips

Doctors can diagnose a vitamin D deficiency by performing a simple blood test. If you have a deficiency, your doctor may order X-rays to check the strength of your bones.

What to do if you’re deficient

If you’re diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency, your doctor will likely recommend you take daily vitamin D supplements. If you have a severe deficiency, they may recommend you take high-dose vitamin D tablets or liquids. You should also make sure to get vitamin D through sunlight and the foods you eat.

Food sources of D

Foods that contain vitamin D include:

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Egg yolk
  • Shrimp
  • Milk (fortified)
  • Cereal (fortified)
  • Yogurt (fortified)
  • Orange juice (fortified)

It can be hard to get enough vitamin D each day through sun exposure and food alone, so taking vitamin D supplements can help.

How much do you need?

There has been some controversy over the amount of vitamin D needed for healthy functioning. Normal blood serum levels range from 50 to 100 micrograms per deciliter. Depending on your blood level, your vitamin D intake needs may be increased.

One IU is not the same for each type of vitamin. An IU is determined by how much of a substance produces an effect in your body. The recommended IUs for vitamin D are:

  • Children and teens: 600 IU
  • Adults up to age 70: 600 IU
  • Adults over age 70: 800 IU
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women: 600 IU