In the past 6 or 7 years, vitamin D has received quite a bit of attention due to the fact that many people have tested with low levels of the nutrient. Numerous studies have reported on the benefits of adequate vitamin D intake. In fact, one study in The Archives of Internal Medicine found that those with sufficient amounts of the vitamin tend to live a longer, healthier life. Vitamin D has become a ‘super nutrient’ as it has shown it may lower mortality rates. It may also reduce one’s risk of cancer, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, as well as gum disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
It’s never too late to take in more vitamin D, even if you’ve tested low in the past. There are two ways for humans to get vitamin D: into the skin through sun exposure, and through diet.
Vitamin D through Sun Exposure
Of course being in the sun for extended periods of time without sunscreen is dangerous. However, it doesn’t take much sun exposure to get enough vitamin D into your body. All you have to do is expose your hands for 5-10 minutes, without sunscreen, two or three times a week and you will produce the maximum amount of the vitamin. Other than that exposure, you should wear sunscreen any time you are outdoors.
Vitamin D through Diet
Fatty fish provide the most vitamin D for your diet. Examples include 3 ounces of wild salmon, Atlantic Mackerel, sardines or shrimp (even though shrimp is not fatty, it has a decent dose of D). Other sources of vitamin D are Shiitake mushrooms, fortified milk (1% or skim), and egg yolks. Some cereals, cheese and yogurt are now fortified with vitamin D too. If you are taking a Calcium supplement with vitamin D, make sure the D is in the form of D3, which is the most bioactive form.
The amount of Vitamin D you need each day depends upon your age. Average daily recommended amounts for adults 19-70 years is 600 IU. So make sure that you eat the foods fortified with Vitamin D, and the foods where it occurs naturally, as well as exposing your hands in the sun, unprotected for that short amount of time, & your levels should improve.