Importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin essential for maintaining adequate calcium and phosphate concentrations to ensure healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D is also involved with immune function and supporting the muscle and nervous system.
Research shows that we get 90% of the vitamin D we need from the sun.
Since the introduction of the ‘slip slop slap’ campaign in the 70’s, Vitamin D deficiency has risen to pandemic proportions for all age groups. One in 3 Australians are considered Vitamin D deficient. Forty two percent of Americans are considered Vitamin D deficient, with the highest rate seen in blacks (82.1%), followed by Hispanics (69.2%). One billion people world-wide lack vitamin D. Sunscreen reduces our ability to absorb vitamin D by more than 99%.
While it's difficult to meet all of your vitamin D needs from food, eating healthy vitamin-D-containing foods doesn't come with the potential health risks of too much sun exposure. Although only a small portion of vitamin D is obtained from diet, here are some of the best sources of vitamin D, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements:
- Cod liver oil.
- Vitamin D-fortified orange juice.
- Vitamin D-fortified milk.
- Vitamin D-fortified yogurt.
- Beef liver.
- Eggs yolks
- Vitamin D-fortified cereal.
- Swiss cheese.
Why do we need Vitamin D?
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to musculoskeletal problems such as rickets, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, fractures and muscle weakness. There are also reports of vitamin D deficiency being linked it to some cancers, autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, infectious diseases and neurologic disorders including Alzheimers disease.
The "right" amount of vitamin D is up for debate and not unanimously agreed upon by health professionals and organizations. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends 1- to 70-year-olds acquire 600 international units a day. Researchers at UC San Diego and Creighton University have challenged the intake of vitamin D recommended by the IOM, stating that their Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin D underestimates the need by a factor of ten.
Depending on where what time of the day and how close you are to the equator will determine how much Vitamin D you will produce. Being exposed to sun between 10am and 4pm and closer to the equator will increase vitamin D levels but also increase chances of skin cancer. During the summer, someone with fair skin color that tans slowly would need 6 minutes of sun exposure to acquire 1,000 IU of vitamin D in Miami whereas in Boston, the same person would require 1 hour. The lighter skin color you are, the easier it is to make vitamin D.
Inactive Ingredient Search for Approved Drug Products:Frequently Asked Questions. US Food & Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/InformationOnDrugs/ucm080123.htm
“Small amounts of UV are beneficial for people and essential inthe production of vitamin D.” There is a relationship of skin exposure to UVRand the burden of diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency.” The WorldHealth Organisation (W.H.O.) http://www.who.int/uv/health/en/
“The mostnatural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight(ultraviolet B rays).” https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/
“VitaminD deficiency is a global health problem. With all the medical advances of thecentury, vitamin D deficiency is still epidemic. Over a billion peopleworldwide are vitamin D deficient or insufficient.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068797
“Sunscreens suppress cutaneous vitamin D3synthesis.” These results indicate that the sunscreen interferred with theskin’s production of vitamin D3. J Clin Endocrinol Metabolisim 1987Jun;64(6):1165-8. Matsuoka LT
“VitaminD deficiency has also greatly increased, since sunblock also prevents vitamin Dproduction in the skin.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slip-Slop-Slap