Vitamin D is vital for good health. It boosts the immune system and performs other vital functions. Safe sunning can help increase your vitamin D naturally. The ultraviolet rays of the sun convert cholesterol into vitamin D. Safe sunning is minimal exposure to the sun. Too much exposure to solar rays can lead to skin cancer. Some people can get all the vitamin D they need from daily safe sunning, but if you live in Fort Lee, New Jersey, that’s not possible all year. You have to increase your Vitamin D through the food you eat or by taking a supplement.
Why is vitamin D important?
Vitamin D isn’t like other vitamins. It has a structure that’s similar to steroid hormones, such as adrenal or sex hormones. It also performs many of the functions of a hormone. It binds to receptors and triggers specific reactions. It acts as a messenger, affecting every cell of the body. Your body uses vitamin D to boost the immune system. Studies show that about half of the adult population has a vitamin D deficiency. One study showed that 80% of the patients of hospitalized patients with covid, were deficient in vitamin D. Muscle weakness, cancer, depression, osteoporosis, and death can occur from too little vitamin D. Obesity is also linked to vitamin D deficiency.
Besides safe sunning, eating healthy can improve your vitamin D intake.
Cod liver oil is probably the best-known source of vitamin D, but if you’ve ever tasted it, you’ll know why it’s not very popular. Other foods higher in vitamin D, like fatty fish, beef liver or other animal livers, eggs, fish roe—think caviar, a special type of fish roe—lard from free-range pork, eel, and duck fat all contain vitamin D. Some food is fortified with vitamin D, like milk products, orange juice, and cereal.
Make small changes in your eating habits to boost vitamin D.
If you choose animal products from free-range or grass-fed animals or wild salmon, you can boost your vitamin D intake. Their products are far higher in vitamin D than ones raised on traditional factory farms. These types of animal products are also higher in vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, and CLA. Wild salmon contains about four times the amount of vitamin D as farmed salmon. Poultry liver contains more vitamin D than other types of animal livers.
- Vitamin D is necessary for healthy teeth. It promotes the absorption of phosphorous and calcium, allowing the teeth to recalcify and repair.
- The two primary types are D2 and D3. D2 comes from plant sources and D3 comes from animal sources. Vitamin D helps maintain healthy insulin levels and plays a role in both lung and heart health.
- Your need for vitamin D increases as you age. For people under 70, it’s 600 IU a day. If you’re over 70 it increases to 800 IU daily.
- If you’re safe sunning to boost your vitamin D, start at 5 to 15 minutes daily, depending on your complexion. The lighter your skin, the less time you spend in the sun. It’s safest to do it at noon when the sun is highest.
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