My doctor ‘prescribed’ sun exposure for 20 minutes a day at least 3 times a week after reviewing my nutritional needs two years ago. No sunscreen. What?! But I confidently can say the extra sun exposure and adjustments to my diet makes a big difference in how I feel.
“Getting enough Vitamin D” is a popular topic lately and a complex one at that. There are a lot of foods at the grocery store with a synthetic form of Vitamin D added, but there are only a few foods containing vitamin D naturally. And most people don’t get enough sun exposure to make it consistently.
Normally, our body takes in Vitamin D in the form of sun-synthesis through the skin. Skin cells manufacture vitamin D when exposed to adequate sunlight. But in this modern life, where most people spend their time inside buildings and cars, our exposure to the sun is limited. This fact may be a fundamental cause of many ailments, including depression and cancer.
You need to find the time for some sun! Ten to fifteen minutes of bright sunlight on the arms and legs 3 times per week is usually sufficient time to process enough vitamin D. It is the UVB rays of ultraviolet light that’s responsible for your body making the vitamin D. If you wear sunscreen in those minutes of sun exposure, you aren’t absorbing the UVB rays. And no, your skin cells won’t make vitamin D from a tanning booth.
Why do we need it? Vitamin D increases the efficiency of calcium and phosphorus absorption from food. These 2 minerals are needed to form dense bone structure. If a person is vitamin D deficient and not getting enough calcium, then the body takes calcium from the bones, resulting in osteoporosis.
Research reveals that vitamin D is involved with a wide range of body needs beyond maintaining healthy bones. Many tissues in the body have a vitamin D receptor, indicating a larger requirement for vitamin D. A number of studies have discovered that people with chronic inflammatory disease (diabetes for example) are deficient in vitamin D. It is believed to also have an effect on your immune system, which is probably why cold viruses spread and more prevalent during the winter time when there is less sunlight.
The National Academy of Science recommends that people not consume more than 2,000 IU a day of vitamin D. Anything above that level is unsafe. If you consume too much vitamin D-enhanced food and take supplements, your body could absorb excessive levels of calcium. This can lead to kidney stones, kidney calcification, kidney failure, and calcification of soft tissue.
Foods high in vitamin D naturally:
* Shiitake and button mushrooms
* Wild-caught Sockeye Salmon
* Cod liver oil
Each person is unique and should consult with their healthcare provider to find out what levels are best for them. I’m interested to hear your take on this subject.