Vitamin D is something you know you need, most people turn to orange juice, cow’s milk & the sun. But what does my diet, my weight, exercise or age have to do with it?
Just walk outdoors and let the sun shine in, and you’ll start boosting your vitamin D. This is the only vitamin that comes to you directly from the environment as well as through some foods. When the sun’s ultraviolet rays interact with the oils of your skin, they produce vitamin D, which then perfuses through your pores into your bloodstream. That doesn’t mean you should fry yourself in the sun and risk developing skin cancer. In fact, once you get a suntan, vitamin D production through your skin is blocked.
Americans aren’t getting enough vitamin D. In fact, recent research studies suggests that up to 80% of people in the U.S. have insufficient levels of this essential nutrient, which offers a multitude of health benefits. Why? Lack of sun exposure. Our busy workdays keep us indoors most of the time, preventing us from seeing much of the sun. And protective covering such as sunscreens and clothing inhibit vitamin D synthesis.
Due to insufficient exposure to sunlight, people who live farther from the equator have a greater risk of having insufficient vitamin D levels than those who live near it. Homebound individuals, those living in northern latitudes, people who wear long robes and head coverings, and people with occupations that prevent sun exposure are unlikely to obtain adequate vitamin D from sunlight.
Even weak sunscreens (SPF 8) can inhibit vitamin D production by up to 95%.
The older you are, the more vitamin D you need. With age, your body becomes less efficient in converting vitamin D to a form it can use. Institutionalized seniors are at very high risk for vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is critical to proper calcium absorption, and in keeping calcium and phosphorus minerals in balance. This is especially important in reducing your risk of osteoporosis.
People with darker skin are more susceptible to having insufficient vitamin D levels, because darker skin reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from exposure to sunlight.
Those who are obese, overweight, or have undergone gastric bypass surgery. Individuals with a BMI ≥30 typically have a low blood levels of vitamin D; this level decreases more as obesity and body fat increases.
People who don’t exercise regularly. A recent study found positive associations between increased vitamin D levels in adolescents, and vigorous physical activity, and maximal oxygen consumption.
Vitamin D is present in certain fish and fortified foods such as cow’s milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals. However, it is difficult to get adequate amounts of vitamin D through diet alone.
What can you do to ensure you are getting optimum levels of Vitamin D? While modifying your diet is another way to up your vitamin D intake, most people don’t get enough vitamin D from diet alone.
The best way to ensure optimum levels of vitamin D is to take a premium quality supplement. The preferred form of vitamin D is vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol. This is the more potent form of vitamin D that the human body makes with exposure to sunlight.
You can find our recommendation for this category (Vita-D3) in the resource box below. Our recommended vitamin D supplement contains 1,000 IU of high potency vitamin D3, the most potent form of vitamin D. These supplements are: Always Safe: tested for purity and potency, Star-K Kosher certified, Gluten Free. Always Works: Based on cutting-edge nutrition science. Always Green: Recyclable packaging, Soy-based inks, No bisphenol-A used in packaging and of course 100% guaranteed. They’re also very reasonably priced! See the resource box for all the details.