Vitamin D; yes or no

Vitamin D; yes or no

Vitamin D has recently been in the news, both in a good and bad way. On one side of the argument are those that promote vitamin D as a “miracle nutrient” showing promise in the management of osteoporosis, reducing pain, helping those suffering from anxiety and depression, reducing inflammation and strengthening one’s immune system. On the other side are those researchers who simply say you don’t need to take any additional vitamin D, spend more time outdoors and eat a diet rich in vitamin D foods.

Vitamin D3 is produced by our body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, unprotected by sunlight. Our body is very efficient when it comes to producing vitamin D3 in this matter. Our body can produce 200 IU(international units) after a brief exposure to UVB sunlight of the arms and face without sunscreen. The amount produced may vary depending upon skin pigmentation, geographic location, and time of day.

The best sources of vitamin D come from fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel with smaller amounts found in mushrooms and egg yolks. Overall, there are few foods in nature that contain high amounts of vitamin D.

Vitamin D supplements are an effective way to achieve and maintain adequate levels of vitamin D. They come in various amounts ranging from 400 IU to 5,000 IU per pill. Vitamin D is safe, and toxicity is rare. Before starting to take vitamin D it is a good idea to get your level checked by your physician. Once again, the amounts you may need will vary from individual to individual. Factors such as age, overall health, medications, weight, genetics, geographical location can all influence the amount of vitamin D you may need.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for all, especially during these difficult times. Strong evidence exists supporting the intake of vitamin D to strengthen the immune system. Numerous studies support the notion that adequate levels of vitamin D may protect against viral infections.

It is my strong opinion that supplementing with vitamin D should be part of everyone’s health program.

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