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Why You Need More Vitamin D – The ‘Sunshine’ Vitamin

Vitamin D Sunshine Vitamin Deficiency Deborah EnosThe sun is beginning to shine a little brighter! You know what that means don’t you? Summer’s on the way and (contain your excitement) it’s bringing an abundant source of Vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ with it. Ok… so why is that important? Doesn’t my daily vitamin have enough? Maybe not.

According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, those with the lowest vitamin D levels more than doubled the risk of death from heart disease and other ailments when compared to those with the highest. The following ailments have been linked to low vitamin D levels:

  • Fibromyalgia. In one recent study a group was given Vitamin D supplements and another group was given a placebo. The group given Vitamin D improved significantly while the placebo group remained unchanged.
  • Breast cancer. Women who maintain a slightly higher level of vitamin D in their body (42ng/mL) are significantly less likely to have breast cancer and another study found that in those with breast cancer, tumor growth is prevented and kept from expanding its blood supply.
  • Colon cancer. Researchers estimate that 50% of colon cancer could be prevented by maintaining a blood level of 34ng/mL.
  • Heart Disease. According to one study, men who were deficient in vitamin D were twice as likely to have a heart attack as men who had adequate levels of vitamin D.

The research is clear, anyone who lives north of the 35th parallel (I know, I had to look it up too. It’s any area north of San Diego) is in danger of being vitamin D deficient. And it’s nearly impossible to get enough from food (unless your diet consists of cod liver oil, mushrooms and oysters…). Before you run out and buy a supplement*, follow these steps.

  • First, head to the doctor and get tested before you start taking vitamin D. This is not a vitamin that you want to “guess-t-mate” when it comes to the quantity to supplement.
  • Plan to get a daily dose of sunshine whenever possible.
  • Eat more vitamin D rich foods such as salmon, egg yolks, mushrooms, shrimp, tuna and fish oil.

Now get outside, take a walk and soak up some sun (with proper protection of course). Your health depends on it!

*NOTE: The elderly and those with darker skin, will need more sun exposure or supplementation to get the proper levels because their bodies naturally produce less vitamin D.  If you have a wheat or dairy intolerance, your body will have a hard time absorbing vitamin D from your supplement. You must get a supplement that is wheat or dairy free.

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