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Friday, June 7, 2013

Vitamin D: Why you may not be getting enough

Katie was kind enough to write about one of my favorite topics... the Sun :)


Now that we are well on our way to summer, it seems relevant to discuss the pros of sun exposure, and specifically how that relates to Vitamin D. In my reading I’ve learned that Vitamin D is unique in that our body can create its own, as opposed to only getting it through foods and supplements. Vitamin C for example, we can only get by eating fruits and veggies or taking supplements.

Many of us may not get enough sun exposure for our bodies to produce the needed amount of Vitamin D. This could be because we spend so much time inside (workaholics?), our strong sunscreens, the need to feel covered up in the sun, along with diets that don’t include enough Vitamin D- rich foods. Don’t be afraid to get a little sun! I’m by no means advocating sitting in the sun for too long without protection, but make sure you get a little natural sunlight a few days a week. Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, weak bones, muscles, and immune systems.

When our skin is exposed to the sun it creates Vitamin D and then sends it to the liver. The liver converts the vitamin into a hormone, or active vitamin, that is sent throughout the body to regulate calcium and phosphorous levels in our bones, blood, and organs. Calcium and phosphorous are essential for maintaining strong bones, good communication between cells, and the ability to fight off illness and infection. You can take/eat all the calcium you want, but without Vitamin D, your body can’t do anything with it.

If you don’t want to, or can’t risk sun exposure, there are definitely foods out there rich in Vitamin D, but you may have to take supplements to get enough. Some of these foods include Sockeye Salmon, mushrooms, lowfat milk, and eggs.

Anyone out there felt the effects of low Vitamin D?



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