As summer is winding down, your days at the beach, pool, or the park are coming to a brief reprise until next summer. While you are soaking up the very last rays of summer, think of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is produced in the skin in response to direct sunlight, and it’s a pretty important vitamin. Dietary Vitamin D is actually a precursor hormone – it is the building block of a powerful steroid hormone in your body called calcitriol. Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and it helps to facilitate a healthy immune system to keep you healthy. Adequate vitamin D can help decrease your chances of getting the flu.
IF you do not get enough vitamin D you are at risk of developing bone abnormalities such as rickets in children and osteomalacia and osteopenia in adults. Several studies have shown that people with more plaque in their coronary arteries tend to have less Vitamin D in their blood. Scientists have theorized that Vitamin D helps protect against plaque buildup and promote blood vessel function. This in turn can decrease your chance of developing heart disease and for men decrease erectile dysfunction. Vitamin D may also reduce your risk of getting Multiple Sclerosis. It helps to regulate your mood and may be helpful in warding off depression. When adding calcium with Vitamin D, it can help boost weight loss by acting as a natural appetite suppressant.
So BEWARE of D-feciencey!!
Many life style and environmental factors can affect your ability to get sufficient Vitamin D through the sun alone. These factors are:
- Living in big cities with tall buildings that block the sunlight
- Having darker more pigmented skin
Vitamin D deficiency is diagnosed with a simple blood test. If your Vitamin D is low it is recommended to take Vitamin D supplements.
Foods that are rich in Vitamin D are:
- Egg yolk
- Milk (fortified)
- Cereal (fortified)
- Yogurt (fortified)
- Orange Juice (fortified)
So enjoy the last few weeks of summer when the days are longer and brighter. Take in every moment at the beach or the pool, and have your Vitamin D checked by your health care provider.