The Benefits of Vitamin D | HealthiNation

Uploaded by HealthiNation on 16.02.2012

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient. That means we need it to live. But did you know that
an estimated 1 billion people around the world, including over two-thirds of Americans, don’t
have enough of it?
It may surprise you to learn that Vitamin D is actually a hormone… it plays an important
role in building bone. A deficiency of vitamin D in adults can lead to thin, brittle bones--a
condition called osteoporosis.
Vitamin D has been in the news a lot lately, and that’s because we’ve learned that
it’s effects extend far beyond bones… tissues throughout the body respond to it.
Vitamin D is a powerful anti-inflammatory, so it’s thought to play an important role
in immune health. Research has suggested that vitamin D deficiency may raise the risk of
developing heart disease and certain cancers, especially, colon cancer.
Although many people with vitamin D deficiency have no symptoms, some may develop muscle
aches, bone pain, chronic pain and fatigue syndromes, and even depression. How do you
know if your vitamin D levels are healthy? Ask your doctor to do a blood test. A level
between 20 to 30 nanograms-per-milliliter indicates a vitamin D “insufficiency,”
while less than 20 indicates a “deficiency.”
Need more vitamin D? Here’s how it works…
Vitamin D is found in certain foods. But when exposed to the sun, our bodies can normally
make enough of it, which is why Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin”.
When sunlight hits our body, the UVB rays from the sun trigger a reaction in the skin
that converts cholesterol into an inactive form of vitamin D. This form is transported
to the liver and kidneys, where it is converted into an active, vitamin D hormone. This hormone
circulates in the blood and supports the WHOLE body… including helping with calcium and
phosphorus absorption.
Sounds easy to get, right? So why do most of us NOT have enough?
There are a lot of reasons. Some people don’t make enough vitamin D from the sun. Especially
people with darker skin, those who are overweight or older. We’ve been yelled at to wear sunscreen
and cover up in the sun… which blocks those UV rays. Or many of us don’t go out in the
sun at all. And, that’s good advice for preventing skin cancer and premature aging.
Sun dilemmas aside, there are only a couple of foods that naturally contain vitamin D.
Fatty fish, like salmon, trout, tuna and sardines… are good choices. Our biggest dietary source
includes foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, like milk and breakfast cereals.
OK… so how much should we be getting?
Currently, the Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get from 200 to 600 I-U or international
units of vitamin D a day. But the LATEST research shows just how important Vitamin D is and
that 200 TO 600 units may not be enough. (Beat)
Many experts agree that adults need at least 800 to 2,000 units a day. To put this in perspective,
generally speaking, about 5-10 min in strong rays, with arms and legs exposed, makes about
3,000 units. For many people, a supplement is the best
way to get enough vitamin D. If your doctor or nutritionist determines you need a supplement,
look for one that contains vitamin D3 because D3 is 3 to 4 times as potent as D2. But beware,
you can take too much Vitamin D…so don’t overdo a good thing. Talk to your doctor about
how much you should take to GET and keep your levels in the normal range.
What’s the bottom line? Be sure to get your daily dose of D – from the sun, from food
or from a supplement. It’s absolutely essential to your health.