No…I’m not talking about breasts. I’m referring to Vitamin D. If you haven’t been hearing about the benefits of Vitamin D lately you have probably been living under a rock somewhere. Every few years, a vitamin gets hyped and more than likely the only ones who benefit from the over-exposure are the vitamin manufactures. But ironically, Vitamin D is free when it comes from the sun and very inexpensive in tablet form. So, I decided to do a little research to help you to determine whether or not to beef up your intake of this little “cure all”.
Almost every body system relies on the utilization of Vitamin D in one way or another. Most of us who know a little about vitamins are most aware of how our bones need it. The major biologic function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus which keep the bones healthy and strong. Vitamin D also lessens inflammation in the body which in its chronic form can lead to heart disease, cancer, and certain types of muscular pain. The immune system is also given a boost by this little gift from the sun. When your levels are up, there are fewer colds and flus. Perhaps this is why we see fewer of these illnesses during the summer months in many parts of the country. A boosted immune system has greater protection from developing autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus.
As I said before, one of the most common sources of Vitamin D is the sun, but unfortunately it is very difficult to absorb enough of it this way consistently, especially if you live in the north Atlantic where the days are shorter. Sunscreens which protect you from UV rays also block out the utilization of D from the sun. Melanin, which is more abundant in darker complexions also can decrease the absorption of Vitamin D. Other sources of Vitamin D are fortified milk, fish, eggs and cod liver oil. The good news is that although the above mentioned ways of receiving the vitamin have their challenges, it is very inexpensive in the form of supplements. The Harvard School of Public Health is trying to get the government to up the daily recommended amounts of Vitamin D from 2oo iu’s to at least 1000 iu’s, maybe more. It is highly unlikely also that large doses of the vitamin can cause toxicity and the benefits have been known to outweigh the possibility of this occurring.
It is possible for us all to get Double D’s and enjoy the benefits without taking drastic measure(ment)s!
Sources: The Mayo Clinic, Women’s Health Magazine