Summertime for me means more time outdoors playing at the pool, working in the yard and walking the dogs. It also means I get to pat myself on the back for the time I spend outside because I am helping to increase the production of one of the most important substances my body needs: vitamin D.
Vitamin D is imperative to live a healthy life. It is key to helping prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. It has been linked to preventing the following types of cancer: bladder, breast, colon, ovarian, prostate and rectal. Vitamin D deficiency has actually been linked to the onset of more than 20 diseases. It can also help strengthen our immune system, which means you get sick less often. It reduces inflammation, helps boost metabolism, which increases weight loss efficiency, regulates thyroid function, and helps with things like fibromyalgia, muscle ache, fatigue and it is good for your brain. It may seem like a cure all substance and while it is not exactly that (I wish it was that easy), it is definitely something you need to strongly pay attention to.
Do you know your vitamin D levels?
Well, you should!!
Add this to the top of your to do list and set a goal to have it completed in the next month. You can have your vitamin D levels tested by asking your doctor to order you a vitamin D blood test. You can also order a kit online through the Vitamin D Council, but either way, I highly recommend you make this a priority for yourself. According to the Vitamin D Council, your vitamin D levels should be between 50 ml and 80 ml year round. You will probably be surprised to discover what yours is. After living through my first Minnesota winter, I had my vitamin D level checked and was shocked to discover it was 38 ml!!! The health coach needs the coaching now! It is still too cold to spend time out in the sun here so I have increased my supplemental intake of vitamin D and plan to check my levels again in 2 to 3 months.
The best food sources for vitamin D are animal products such as: salmon; sardines; oysters; all natural grass fed beef products including cheese and butter; egg yolks; and fortified milk. Unfortunately, the foods you eat are not going to give you enough vitamin D and depending on how much time you spend outside, you probably aren’t getting adequate amounts of vitamin D that way either, especially if you live somewhere with long winter months. That is why it is extremely important to supplement your diet with vitamin D. If your vitamin D levels are in fact low, the Vitamin D Council recommends taking 5,000 IU per day for 2 – 3 months and then checking your levels again to make sure they are in the appropriate range. At that time, you can reduce your intake to 1,000 IU per day and this should be enough to keep you in maintenance mode. Check your vitamin D levels a couple times a year to ensure you are always within range.
The best way for your body to receive vitamin D is through sun exposure. Receiving midday sun exposure with as much of the skin showing as possible for 20 – 30 minutes (being careful not to burn your skin) at least 3 times a week should be enough to keep your levels optimal. This should be done without sunscreen. If you tend to burn easily or you are someone who just doesn’t have time to spend 20 – 30 minutes in direct sunlight then you should plan on incorporating a vitamin D supplement into your diet. It is important to note that the darker your skin is the more you will have to take to maintain healthy levels.
– Vitamin D is vital to reducing our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other chronic disease and in supporting our immune system, metabolism and thyroid function
– Check vitamin d levels at least twice a year (my personal recommendation) to ensure levels are in the range of 50 ml to 80 ml
– Supplement appropriately and/or receive regular exposure to sunlight to ensure healthy levels of vitamin D
If you are concerned about your vitamin D levels or are still unsure how to move forward if you are ready to take action, I suggest you work with your doctor or find a certified health coach.
To your successful health!
Randi's passion is to teach people the importance of getting into the kitchen to cook! When people get into the kitchen to cook, they can control their health and their waistline. She uses fresh ingredients and traditional foods in her cooking like butter. She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, exercise enthusiast and rep for Young Living Essential Oils (providing natural solutions for your health).