By Pat News, RNC, NP, MSN
To sun or not to sun, is that the question? Due to our fear of skin cancer, many of us hesitate to spend any time at all in the sun. Yet, latest research has shown that this is resulting in a large number of men, women and children having a deficiency of this essential vitamin.
Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children and fragile, misshapen bones in adults. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system. It also plays a major role in the life cycle of human cells. Recent research has also shown a connection between vitamin D deficiency and 17 kinds of cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer. A deficiency of this vitamin has also been linked to heart disease, depression, weight gain, thyroid disorders, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and bowel disorders, e.g. Irritable bowel and Crohn’s disease.
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Vitamin D is so important that your body makes it by itself, but only after skin exposure to sufficient sunlight. Just ten minutes a day, at the peak of the sun, without sunscreen, to 20% of your body gives you the necessary amount of sun exposure. Five to thirty minutes of sun exposure to the face, arms, legs or back- without sunscreen- at least twice a week should give you plenty of vitamin D. This much sun exposure may also expose you to potentially dangerous levels of cancer-causing UV radiation. Another way to get vitamin D is from foods or supplements.
Cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines in oil, fortified milk, egg yolks, beef liver and cheese all contain vitamin D. Many brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine and cereals are now fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements, in the form of D3, are an excellent way to get your requirement without the worry of sun damage. The recommended dosage for healthy adults is 2000 IU daily per the Vitamin D Council. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 400 IU/ day for children and teens who drink less than a liter of vitamin D fortified milk per day. While it is rare to see an overdose of vitamin D, please remember that too much of a good thing is a bad thing and follow the recommended dosages advised by your health care provider.
To have you Vitamin D level checked call Pat News Health Care for an appointment at 661-799-7000.
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