Let the Sunshine In (And Get More Vitamin D)

Vitamin D has been in the news quite a bit lately. Most people know its importance in helping bone growth and strength preventing rickets and osteoporosis, but did you know that it is also extremely important in maintaining a healthy immune system? Here are a few more things you might not know about vitamin D.

  • It’s not really a vitamin. It’s a unique metabolic product called calcitrol, a secosteroid hormone.
  • It is produced in huge quantities by the skin, about 10,000 IU in 20-30 minutes in of summer sun exposure. Sunlight has become our enemy due to its link with skin cancer, so most people don’t get their vitamin D this way.
  • You probably aren’t getting enough. The US government recommends at least 200 IU a day. Research shows that you probably need more like 5000 IU a day. Even if you go outside daily you may not be getting enough. If you live north or south of 40 degrees latitude, the sunshine in late fall through early spring is not sufficient to produce enough vitamin D.
  • It’s hard to get enough vitamin D from diet alone. The average glass of milk only gives you about 100 IU. You would get sick drinking enough milk. Other dietary options aren’t much better, the best being fatty fish. You can get about 400 IU from 3 oz of catfish.
  • Your body likes dietary Vitamin D just as much as the vitamin D it makes itself. This allows you to get vitamin D through supplements. These supplements are fairly inexpensive usually under $10 for a 3 month supply of 5000 IU tablets.
  • Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to autism, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression and many other maladies.

Recommendations:

  1. Get tested: Start taking supplements and get tested after a few months. You can have your doctor do the test or you can get a home test kit. If you go to your doctor make sure he does a 25(OH)D test not the 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D test. You’re looking for a result between 50 and 80 ng/ml. If its to high or low and you will need to adjust your dosage.
  2. Make sure you either sunbathe once a week (if you live in a subtropical region like Florida) or use the following recommendations: 5000 IU daily for adults, 1000 IU daily for healthy children under 1 year old, over 1 year old add 1000 IU for every 25 lbs. If you sunbathe make sure you never burn, UV radiation does cause skin cancer if it burns you. Also, if you have dark skin it will take longer to absorb enough vitamin D, you will probably need to supplement if you live anywhere in the United States.
Tom

About Tom

I co-founded Health Now, Wealth Forever when I realized I was unhappy with where I was in life. I was overweight, unhealthy, and stuck in a business that I couldn't save. I had little hope. With our mission of helping others with the same problems, I am now in a much better place in all facets of my life. Most of my posts are about improving your diet - I think health most important. But, I also write about sustainable living, self-improvement, and occasionally improving finances. After all, one of my personal mottos is balance in everything.

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