Have you noticed that in the last year or two, when you go to the doctor, he or she always asks you if you’re taking a Vitamin D supplement? The reason is that there is a ton of research out there about the benefits of taking it, and the risks of not getting enough. Here are ten facts about Vitamin D that everyone should know:
- At least half the population has levels that are insufficient. The Institute of Medicine recently bumped up the recommended daily amounts to 600IU, but many researchers and other experts suggest that amount should be increased further to 800-2000 IU per day.
- Vitamin D is a hormone that our bodies make when we are exposed to ultraviolet light. While we have been told to stay out of the sun and to use sunblock to prevent skin cancer, we actually need sun exposure for our bodies to make Vitamin D. If you’re in the sun a lot, you may not need to take a supplement.
- Sunscreens significantly limit your production of Vitamin D. It’s difficult to tell how much exposure to the sun you need uninhibited by sunscreen because we are all different and many factors are involved, from age, to skin color, to whether or not it’s cloudy out. Some suggest that getting 10 to 20 minutes of midday sun on arms and legs about three times a week will result in acceptable levels for many people.
- Not many foods have high levels of Vitamin D. But if you’re looking to boost Vitamin D with foods, try oily fish such as salmon and egg yolks. Also, many foods are fortified with Vitamin D. These include milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals.
- Many health conditions have been linked with low levels of Vitamin D. They include: arthritis, coronary artery disease, diabetes, dementia, depression, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and psoriasis. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and has been shown to improve bone health.
- Vitamin D has been shown to benefit your immune system and to have anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, it may also inhibit cancer. Recent studies have been shown that Vitamin D is associated with a lower risk, longer survival, and delayed progression of certain types of cancer.
More Information on Vitamin D in the Pipeline
There are several long-term studies that are in progress and that researchers hope will shed light on the benefits of Vitamin D. In the meantime, you might want to follow doctor’s orders and take steps to make sure you’re getting the recommended amounts.