- Dr. Lesa Lawson
Vitamins and Minerals - Vitamin D
I’m starting with vitamin D because many of us tend to be deficient, what with all of the sunscreen ads, the long job hours that keep us inside buildings, and admonitions to stay out of the sun.
Vitamin D is vital for the absorption and regulation of calcium and phosphorus and the promoting and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. For the older ones among us, a deficiency in this powerhouse vitamin it can lead to osteoporosis or osteomalacia or softening of the bones.
Many of us do not know that vitamin D also protects the body against many diseases, among them diabetes, type I, cancers of the colon, breast, prostate, lymphatic system, esophagus and ovaries, and multiple sclerosis.Vitamin D helps to lower blood pressure and can also reduce the risk of diabetes, heart attacks, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Who Needs Extra D?
50 Year-olds and Older: Those who are older than 50 years may not realize that your skin does not make as much vitamin D, even when exposed to the sun. If there is kidney weakness, that slows the process even more, as the kidneys, with age, become slower at converting vitamin D into the form that the body uses.
Dark Skinned Individuals: Blacks and those with greater pigmentation have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. Dark skin acts like a natural sunscreen, so the more pigment you have, the more time you'll need to spend in the sun to make adequate amounts of vitamin D.
Those Who are Overweight or Obese (or Have a Higher Muscle Mass):Body fat collects Vitamin D, especially because it is a fat-soluble vitamin. Those who are overweight, obese or with more muscle mass will require more of this vitamin before the consumption can be experienced.
Those with Stomach and Intestinal Problems: If you have trouble absorbing fat, you may have a low vitamin D level, as well, since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This vitamin greatly aids the gastrointestinal system and gut conditions.
How to Gain Vitamin D
Spend between 15 to 20 minutes in the sun, daily, preferably between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If you live in a country that is experiencing winter, you will not be able to obtain sufficient vitamin D from the sun, so make sure to eat the foods that provide this necessary vitamin. If you choose to take a supplement, take vitamin D3 and take vitamin K with it, as well.