Vitamin D, we all need it and we all get it – but do you really know how much you need? Do you know how much you are getting?
Most of us do know that we get vitamin D from the sun – not that it shoots vitamin D rays at us from space but, rather, that the sun and our skin somehow work together to create this essential vitamin in our bodies. Cool.
Basically, there are two kinds of vitamin D: D2, which is synthesized from plants; and D3 which is synthesized by us when the UVB rays from the sun hit our skin! Vitamin D is essential. It helps our body maintain healthy calcium and phosphorous blood levels.
Recent research has shown, however, that many of us are not getting enough vitamin D. Next time you go in for a physical, just ask your doctor to check your vitamin D level, you may be surprised. Your vitamin D level may be surprisingly low!
Some of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency may include muscle weakness and bone pain. However, symptoms can sometimes be subtle. Even without symptoms, too little vitamin D may pose health risks. In fact, vitamin D deficiency has been linked with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children and cancer.
Now, you might think, hey, let’s hit the beach – soak in some sunshine! But we’ve all heard how bad overdoing that can be, haven’t we? No, maybe we should think about increasing the amount of vitamin D we get in our diet. Don’t worry, there are lots of food out there in plentiful supply that can help us get the amount of vitamin D we need.
There are a multitude of animal sources, for instance, which are very excellent sources of vitamin D. Fish for one are a very good source. Specifically, there’s cod liver oil, wild salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel (holy mackerel!). Eggs are a good source too.
Are you a vegetarian or vegan? Congratulations, but you still need your vitamin D! If you’re lacto-ovo-vegetarian, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting some of your vitamin D through milk and eggs. Some algae, yeast and even mushrooms are good sources of vitamin D for the vegans out there.
And whether a strict vegan (like me) or not, you may want to consider a vitamin D supplement. Some research suggests we are not getting nearly the amount of vitamin D in our bodies as our bodies need. And the truth is, no one yet knows how much would be optimal! Personally, I’m all for supplementing my vitamin D intake.