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The Sunshine Vitamin

Everything you should know about vitamin D

Winter is coming and most people are going to spend more time inside to escape the cold. I am with you I do not like the cold however, we should be going out in the sunshine for at least 10-30 minutes several times per week because sunlight is converted into an active form of vitamin D that the body can use for normal body processes every day. About 42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D and the numbers get even worse with older adults because they have a much harder time converting sunlight into vitamin D. The recommended amount of vitamin D needed every day in children up to 12 months old is 400 IU, for 1 through 70 years old’s it is 600 IU, and for people over 70 years old it is 800 IU per day.


How to get more vitamin D

Another way to incorporate more vitamin D into your diet is from food and drinks. Very few foods have vitamin D, but the ones that have the most are fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Eggs and cheese have small trace amounts and mushrooms contain vitamin D as well. There are also foods and drinks that have been fortified with vitamin D and provide most of the vitamin D in the diet. Cereal and milk are some of the most common foods that are fortified with vitamin D.


Why do we need vitamin D?

Vitamin D helps to maintain our bones and aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus which are then brought to the bones and teeth by vitamin D. Another role of vitamin D is it helps to regulate the amount of calcium in our blood stream. It’s role in our normal body processes does not stop there it also helps with muscle function and allows the body and brain to communicate via nerves. Lastly, the immune system uses vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses.


So, remember to get outside and drink/eat foods that are rich in vitamin D!

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