Vitamin D plays a big part in bolstering our immune system and preventing disease. Its nickname is the “sunshine vitamin” because our body creates most of it when exposed to sunlight.
HOW DO WE INTAKE VITAMIN D?
Whether we spend time at the beach or our local pool, one thing is clear: exposure to the sun’s rays is present in most summertime activities. Sunshine makes us feel good, and when we don’t get enough vitamin D, we can suffer from things like seasonal depression.
We get approximately 90-95% of our daily vitamin D intake from the sun. Aside from natural sunlight, we consume vitamin D through:
- fortified breakfast
HOW MUCH VITAMIN D DO I NEED?
Although your body benefits from vitamin D, taking more than 10,000 IU can cause vitamin D toxicity (although it’s more likely to occur from 40,000 IU). The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has designated 4000 IU as the safe daily upper limit. The minimum recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 1,000 IU, though many people don’t even reach this amount. In fact, about 42% of the US population is vitamin D deficient.
What Can Vitamin D Do For Our Health?
- Decrease the chance of heart disease.
- Makes bones strong. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorous which the skeletal system needs to grow.
- May prevent Multiple Sclerosis. Some researchers believe that vitamin D has the potential to prevent the development of MS. Research has found that children who consume recommended amounts of vitamin D have a lesser chance of developing the debilitating muscle disease.
- Prevents rickets. Rickets is a nutritional disorder that results from vitamin D deficiency. Rickets can cause delayed growth and weakening in the bones.
- Reduces the risk of cancers. According to the US National Cancer Institute, people exposed to high levels of sunlight were less likely to die from breast and colon cancer. Though vitamin D can reduce the risks of some forms of cancer, this isn’t an opportunity to ditch the sunscreen. Overexposure to UV radiation is a direct cause of cancer.c
- Vitamin D affects our oral health. Certain studies have shown that children with vitamin D deficiencies experience more cavities than children with normal vitamin D levels.