If you’ve heard that you need vitamin D to help boost your immune system, you heard right. Not only do you need vitamin D, studies show about half of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. The body produces its own vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sun. In areas like Louisville, it’s impossible to get adequate sun to produce vitamin D in the winter. That means you have to find alternatives get vitamin D another way,
What is vitamin D?
While vitamin D is essential to a healthy body, it’s not really structured like a vitamin and isn’t an essential nutrient. The nutritional definition of essential means the body needs it, but can’t produce it so it must come from food. Our bodies actually make it from sunlight reacting with cholesterol. Unlike vitamins, its chemical structure is more like a steroid hormone—-such as sex or adrenal hormones. Like hormones, it affects the functions of the body and binds to receptors, which triggers specific reactions. Hormones are messengers. All cells of the body react from vitamin D.
Start with the easiest method of boosting your vitamin D, safe sunning.
Safe sunning means getting about 12 minutes of body exposure to the sun at midday in the summer, when the sun is highest in the sky. Do this three times a week if you’re at a latitude above 33 degrees (the same latitude as Atlanta, GA). The further north you are, the more sun you need. If you’re fair skinned, start with less time and for those darker skinned do more, since melanin blocks the sun. The further north you are, the more sun time you need.
Consume food with vitamin D.
Organ meat like liver, contain higher amounts of vitamin D. If you have the opportunity to choose between farmed and wild salmon or other fatty fish, choose wild for it’s higher vitamin D content. The same is true of choosing meat from grass-fed or free-range over factory farm meat and animal products. They also contain higher sources of other nutrients, such as vitamin A, CLA and omega-3 fatty acids. Fortified products like milk, cereal and orange juice are good sources of vitamin D, as are fish roe, eel, cod liver oil and eggs.
- Vitamin D not only boosts your immune system, it protects the brain, helps maintain a healthy insulin level and is necessary to absorb calcium properly. It’s important for healthy lungs and heart.
- A study of 216 covid patients showed that 80% were vitamin D deficient. Another study showed that people who had dark skin and those who were obese had the largest population deficient in vitamin D. They were also more susceptible to complications of covid.
- Safe sunning does not mean completely eliminating sunscreen. It simply means exposing as much skin as possible to the sun for a short time before applying it. The color of your skin and location determines the amount of exposure time.
- As you age, your need for vitamin D increases. If you’re under 70, you need 600 IU a day. For those over 70 the amount increases to 800 IU a day.
For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training