Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, it needs to be consumed with a fat source to be properly absorbed and is needed in almost all our physiological functions. Vitamin D plays a major role in the immune system and is vital to vibrant health. Although there are many forms of vitamin D, the two most common types are vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. Vitamin D is one of the most undervalued nutrients in the world since most people assume they are getting enough from the sun. Although sunlight is one source of vitamin D, there are very few individuals who get enough exposure to reap the benefits and receive adequate levels of vitamin D. In addition, excessive time in the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer.
Let’s begin with understanding the benefits of Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, in order to understand if you getting enough of it.
1. Immune system: Vitamin D is crucial for the creation of t-cells that protect the body against bacteria and disease.
2. Inflammation: Lack of vitamin D can cause inflammation in the body and we know that inflammation is the root cause of all diseases.
3. Calcium absorption: Vitamin D helps in absorption of calcium and contributes to bone growth and bone strength and prevention of osteoporosis,
4. Prevention of cancer: Cancers may be prevented by adequate consumption of this vitamin.
5. Hormones: Also plays an important role in hormone health especially in polycystic ovarian syndrome, PCOS for short and fertility.
6. Also helps in prevention of depression, obesity and diabetes.
There are couple of reasons of vitamin D deficiency today such as modern farming practices result in poor soil quantity and the foods have lower level of magnesium and vitamin K which help activate vitamin D in the liver and kidneys, hence without sufficient amount of these nutrients, the body may not be able to metabolise the vitamin D taken. It is important to consume food that is cultivated using sustainable farming practices.
Additionally, the consumption of artificial light is far higher than the natural light these days reducing the exposure to the sun.
Get Vitamin D Through Vitamin D Rich Foods
Consume vitamin D rich foods in the diet. To get vitamin D from foods, include fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and sardines, in your diet. Cod liver oil boasts high vitamin D levels. Other vitamin D rich foods are beef liver, eggs, fortified milk and cheese.
Other sources of Vitamin D
Get adequate sunlight. We live in a time where we consume for artificial light than natural light. Exposing the body to sunlight is the simplest way to get vitamin D. Those with fair skin require about 45 minutes of exposure, while those with darker skin may require up to three hours a week to maintain sufficient levels. Exercising regularly also helps in the production of vitamin D.
If you cannot get enough sunlight, supplementation may be beneficial to achieve adequate levels. Consult your health care professional to understand your needs and make changes accordingly. Vitamin D is crucial for optimal health, make sure you getting enough of it!