Eating a healthy diet is a balancing act, for sure. One based on whole, fresh plant foods is crucial, and is our best protection against chronic disease. The problem is that even a very healthy diet can be lacking in some important nutrients – and these deficiencies can undermine our best efforts to be strong and vigorous.
In recent years there has been a good deal of research on vitamin D’s role in a variety of human diseases. Low levels of it have been associated with many diseases, pregnancy complications, depression, autoimmune diseases, and even early death.
A Quick Look at Vitamin D
Why We Need It. Vitamin D has important actions in almost every cell in the human body. Low levels are associated with osteoporosis, several cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and autoimmune diseases. Sufficient levels of vitamin D are crucial for calcium absorption in your intestines. Without sufficient vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, rendering any calcium supplements that you may be taking useless.
How We Get It. The most common source is through exposure to sunlight, and it is best absorbed by the body in that way. Care must be taken, however, to not overdue the sun exposure, for fear of developing skin cancer. Also, in the darker days of Winter, opportunities for enough sun exposure are sometimes rare, thus making vitamin D supplements a good choice. It would take 10 tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get to minimum vitamin D levels in the body.
Some Things to Consider.
Vitamin D is produced by your skin response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight. Those sun rays cannot penetrate glass, so you don’t generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or next to a window at home.
The skin must be free of sunscreen blocks and clothing to absorb vitamin D from sunshine. Even weak sunscreens (SPF 8) block the absorption rate by as much as 95%.
It is impossible t0 generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs. Chronic vitamin D deficiency cannot be reversed overnight, however. It takes months of vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure to rebuild the body’s bones and nervous system.
How it is for me. I take vitamin D supplements in the Winter, for sure. I’m not outside much, and when I am, I am quite covered in sleeves and pants. In the summer, when I’m out more, I cut way back on my dosage. I try to get outside for a 30 minute walk in shorts and a sleeveless shirt, so that those big extremities, arms and legs, can get maximum exposure.
Other folks work out the vitamin D issue differently. What is important here is to have your level checked by your doctor, and then come up with a plan that will meet the needs of your body. I recommend being intentional about getting as much vitamin D from natural sunshine as you can, and making up the difference with supplements, if they are necessary.
All of you are welcome to this conversation. You can signify your approval of this post by liking it below, and also add a comment. There is great wisdom in the community of health seekers. Let’s share some of it!