Vitamins and supplements – there’s a lot of them out there. Probiotics, herbals, Eastern medicine; Vitamins from this source or that source.
Here’s the low-down about Vitamin D.
1. Helps your body aborb the calcium you eat – this is super important because we need calcium for lots of things
2. Helps your body absorb phosphates – phosphates are important for strong bone development but there is a lot of it in the modern diet. Vitamin D helps it go where it’s supposed to go so it doesn’t go where it shouldn’t.
3. Strengthens your immune system– research finds that people who get enough of the vitamin are less likely to develop colds and flus. So if you feel a cold coming on – go to Florida.
4. Helps your bones and teeth grow – in children who do not have enough vitamin D, bones tend not to get as hard as they should (a called “Rickets”) because you need vitamin D to move calcium into your bones.
5. Disease fighter – vitamin D has been shown to have a possible connection with reducing the risk of cancers, heart disease, even multiple sclerosis.
6. Depression fighter – there is research-evidence that people who get enough vitamin D may be less likely to get depressed.
So how do I get Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is commonly added to milk and some milk-like products, usually along with calcium, because the two have such a strong relationship to one another. This is done because there are not a lot of foods that naturally contain vitamin D.
That said, vitamin D can be found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel. To a lesser degree it can be found in beef livers, cheese and egg yolks. Mushrooms have vitamin D sometimes. Fun fact: mushrooms have a special ability to MAKE vitamin D by being exposed to ultraviolet light…kind of like people do. Yes, that’s right, we make our own vitamin D! When we are exposed to the ultraviolet radiation of the sun our skin can make it. The problem here is that the concern about skin cancer has caused people, rightly, to protect themselves from the dangers of the sun, which has had the downside of shielding us from the ability to make vitamin D. As a result, 80% of Americans don’t have enough vitamin D.
We only need 600 International Units (IU) of vitamin D a day until we are 70 (when we need 800 a day) and you can get that from food, or the sun, or, the most consistent way, from a supplement. Most multivitamins have 600IU of vitamin D, as do most calcium supplements, so it’s very easy to get. There is research about the benefits of taking increased units of Vitamin D.