Good Wellness Wednesday!!
Now that summer is in full swing in most places, it’s a good time to discuss the importance of vitamin D. Texas has plenty of sunshine, making it easier to soak up the sunshine vitamin, while other states are a little more limited in their sun exposure i.e. norther climates.
Lets discuss the importance of vitamin D to our overall health, at any age. Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is crucial to our health for a variety of reasons. It is needed for more than just improving our moods. Vitamin D plays various roles in our body and contributes to the health of our immune system. I have always recommended vitamin D, even for those in sunny climates.
Why? Most of our vitamin D is absorbed through the skin from the sun and sunscreen will block it’s absorption; thus if you live in a sunny climate and wear sunscreen regularly, you are limiting it’s absorption through the skin. Furthermore, even when we shower right after being in the sun, it can wash vitamin D off before it has time to soak through the skin, according to some studies (It takes up to 48 hours for vitamin D to enter our bloodstream).
I recommended at least 20 minutes of sunshine daily, without protection, to allow our skin to soak up adequate levels of vitamin D. After all, this is why it’s called the sunshine vitamin! Let’s dive in deeper with a quick synopsis of why adequate Vitamin D is important to our health.
- Vitamin D for Bone Health: One important function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium. Without adequate levels of vitamin D in our bodies, calcium is not absorbed. In fact, vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium; thus, low vitamin D levels may affect your calcium absorption and levels, which can cause bone loss and weak, brittle bones.
- Vitamin D Improves Immune System Health: Studies have shown that the sunshine vitamin can help strengthen the immune system, thus prevents many illnesses like the common cold or flu. Vitamin D is a great defense against common ailments. Deficiencies in vitamin D is associated with increased susceptibility to infections and increased autoimmunity. Studies have shown that vitamin D is needed to activate our immune defenses, therefore fighting against many illnesses
- Vitamin D Reduces Inflammation: Due to it’s role in aiding autoimmune disorders, it is thought that Vitamin D helps to lower inflammation in our bodies. Those with arthritis, MS, diabetes and lupus benefit from vitamin D supplementation.
- Vitamin D Reduces Depression: Vitamin D deficiency is more common among those who are anxious or depressed. People with depression who receive vitamin D shots, show a significant improvement in their depressive moods. This vitamin is said to play an important role in regulating moods.
- Vitamin D Helps with Weight loss: Adequate levels of vitamin D with calcium can suppress one’s appetite, helping with weight loss. For many this is a win win – strengthening bones, while maintaining weight.
Bottom line, vitamin D is a supplement you should add to your daily routine to help improve your overall health. If you don’t spend time in the sun, taking a supplement is recommended or there are food sources for vitamin D as well which include the following:
- Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel or salmon.
- Liver and Egg yolks
- Cod Liver Oil
- Foods fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, yogurt, soy and almond milk & cereals
In summary, having adequate levels of vitamin D improves our overall health and is essential for bone growth. Our youth should be mindful of their vitamin D intake. I recommend a vitamin D supplement for all those who don’t get outside enough or who can’t eat the foods rich in vitamin D regularly.