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Vitamin D Supplements and Sunshine

July 20th, 2009

vitamin d and bone health

Put Some Vitamin D On Your Plate!

Studies show that a healthy dose of Vitamin D lowers your chance of having cancer or heart disease. It cuts the risk of ovarian, lung, colon or breast cancer, osteoporosis, depression, insomnia, and bone disease.  You can get most of your Vitamin D from the sun during the summer, but you should think about eating certain foods and try taking a Vitamin D supplement to make sure you are getting what your body needs. 

Sunshine is our primary source of Vitamin D.  When the sun’s UV-B rays shine on you, it enables your skin to produce Vitamin D.  Studies show that fair skinned people can spend about 10 minutes a day without sunscreen to get enough IU’s (International Units) of the vitamin, but darker skin requires more time because of the melanin that protects the skin from sunburn.  There are two obvious obstacles with this  – fair skin burns without sunscreen, and some of us don’t have time to get in the sun every day.  It becomes especially hard during the winter months when some of us hardly see the sun while working under fluorescent lighting most of the daylight hours.  This is why supplementation becomes a necessity.

Adding a D supplement along with some Vitamin D enriched foods to your daily routine can keep you within the recommended dose.  Try to reach a goal of 200-1000 IU of Vitamin D a day, depending on your age and doctor’s recommendations.   Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so your body won’t absorb it with water.  You need to try to take the vitamin with milk, eggs, or a vegetable fat from lentils or nuts.   You can also take a cod liver oil (this can have around 1200 IU per teaspoon). 

As far as foods go, you can eat oily fish which gives you about 100 IU per ounce of salmon or mackerel.  Other options are d-enriched foods like some cereals, milk, margarine, egg yolks, and yogurt.  You can also try an Egg protein like Universal Nutrition Milk and Egg Protein which gives you 200 IU of vitamin D per serving.  The best bet is to do a combination of all of these things – get some sun, supplement your Vitamin D intake and try to add more d-enriched foods to your diet.  Your heart and bones will thank you!

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