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Sometimes We Need More Than Sunshine

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a central role in many components of health. It stands out from other vitamins because your body is able to make most of what you need through exposure to sunlight, which is why it’s often dubbed the “sunshine vitamin.” But sometimes we need more than sunshine.

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Vitamin D is critical to several different systems in your body. It assists your digestive system to help your gut absorb calcium from the foods that you eat. Calcium is vital for building and maintaining strong and healthy bones. Vitamin D also blocks the release of the parathyroid hormone, which makes bones weak and brittle by reabsorbing bone tissue. Calcium and Vitamin D together improve your skeletal health, as well as the condition of your teeth. Vitamin D is not found in fresh fruits and vegetables, like most other essential vitamins. It is obtained through sun exposure, specific foods, and supplements. As people are getting less sun exposure and are using strong sunscreens, we are seeing a decrease in people’s serum vitamin D. It is often difficult to get the proper vitamin D intake. There are foods that are easy to incorporate into your diet to boost Vitamin D levels without taking supplements.

  • Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.
  • Beef liver.
  • Cheese.
  • Egg yolks.

Along with your diet, when your skin is exposed to sunlight, the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun provide energy that helps the cholesterol in your skin produce vitamin D. It’s generally recommended to squeeze in at least 5–30 minutes of sun exposure two times per week to help meet your vitamin D needs, although this can vary based on a number of factors, including age, skin color and body weight.

Adequate vitamin D may aid in weight management, boosts brain health, may prevent cancer formation, strengthens bones, and improves immune function.

Last modified: December 11, 2020

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