Vitamin D is sometimes called the "sunshine vitamin" because a dose of the sun's warm rays can help your body produce this fat soluble vitamin, which is critical to keeping your bones healthy, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Benefits of vitamin D
Stored in your body’s fat tissue, vitamin D helps your bones to absorb needed calcium, which helps keep them rigid and strong. Without the right amount of calcium, your bones are at risk from diseases such as osteoporosis, osteomalacia or rickets.
But vitamin D doesn’t just protect your bones. It also gives your muscles, nerves and immune system a boost.
So how much vitamin D does your body need to stay healthy? It depends on a number of factors, including how old you are. The right amount of an individual can range from 400 international units for infants to 800 international units for adults over age 71.
How to get enough
One way to get your daily dose of vitamin D is to spend 10 to 15 minutes outside in the sun three times a week. But beware, too much sun can increase your risk of skin cancer, so be certain to limit the amount of time you spend catching rays. It's also a good idea to slather on sunscreen after spending a few minutes outside.
But not all locations have enough sun to help people produce vitamin D, so many people will need to get their daily dose of D through the foods they eat and by taking supplements.
Not many foods have vitamin D, but a few include salmon, tuna and other fatty fish. Many foods, however, are fortified with vitamin D, such as breakfast cereals, milk and other dairy products.
You may also want to talk to your doctor about using a vitamin D supplement to make sure you’re getting enough. He or she can also send you for laboratory tests to determine if you are getting enough vitamin D to keep your healthy.
Too much or too little
You know too little vitamin D can put you at risk for bone disorders, but did you also know that vitamin D deficiencies may also play a role in a number of different diseases and medical conditions, such as diabetes, some types of cancer and even autoimmune disorders.
However, keep in mind it’s also possible to get too much of a good thing. Signs you’ve had too much vitamin D include stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or constipation as well as other problems such as weight loss or feeling weak. If you have too much vitamin D it can cause calcium to build up in your blood and cause calcium deposits in your heart or lungs and kidney problems.
They key is to find best way to get the right dose of vitamin D for your body to help protect your bones and your long-term health.
This article is presented by Autoteam Delaware in Wilmington, Delaware.