Vitamin D is associated with strong bones and healthy teeth, but many ponder alternative benefits and sources. Whether Vitamin D is being absorbed through the body from certain foods or pouring down through rays of sunlight, its nutrients are imperative for good health. Not only does it aid in the growth of teeth and bones, Vitamin D also helps to increase immune function.
Other Health Benefits Include:
- A reduced risk of multiple sclerosis
- Decreased Chance of developing heart disease
- Decreased chance of contracting the flu virus
- Decreased chance of osteoporosis
Where Can I Find More Vitamin D?
Just step outside to increase your intake of vitamin D. Since your body produces the vitamin naturally through direct exposure to sunlight, it only takes 10 minutes a day outside to gain a healthy dose.
Vitamin D foods are considered fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Mushrooms even contain natural traces of vitamin D, but only after exposure to certain forms of ultraviolet light. However, store bought foods like milk, cereal and orange juices are generally fortified with artificial forms of vitamin D.
The National Institute of Health recommends that you obtain the vitamin through all three sources to ensure a balance of the nutrient in your blood. Without it, a vitamin D deficiency could develop.
Symptoms Of A Vitamin D Deficiency Include:
- Muscle weakness
- Bleeding or swelling in the gums
- Respiratory diseases
Symptoms of low vitamin D are most often found in those who have limited exposure to sun. This can include those living in northern hemispheres, the elderly and those with occupations that limit them to sun exposure. In addition, people with darker skin are more prone to a vitamin D deficiency since melanin reduces the skin's ability to make vitamin D.
What About Supplements?
While there is no way to know how much vitamin D you should take without examination by a doctor, the National Institute of Health recommends 600 IU per day. However, some doctors argue that taking a Vitamin D supplement of 1000-2000 IU can be beneficial. When shopping around for vitamin D supplements, keep in mind that vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2.