Vitamin D
Vitamin D is sometimes called the "sunshine vitamin." About 90% of the body's vitamin D is absorbed from the sun. People are not outside nearly as much as they used to be, and when they are, they often wear sunscreen to block the sun's dangerous UV rays. It is hard, now, for bodies to receive the amount of vitamin D that they need to keep them healthy.

Natural Sources of Vitamin D

Sunlight is, of course, course the best source of Vitamin D. Because people do not get enough sunshine, they are taking vitamin D supplements. In addition to the sun, however, there are other natural sources of this important vitamin. Seafood, including salmon, tuna, sardines, and shrimp are good sources of vitamin D, and cod liver oil can be taken if an individual does not like seafood. Whole eggs, mushrooms, and beef liver can also provide this needed vitamin. Some commonly fortified foods provide vitamin D, including milk, orange juice, cereals, tofu, and more.

Benefits of Vitamin D

One of the vital functions of vitamin D is helping to regulate how much calcium is absorbed by the body. Vitamin D may also fight diseases. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), so it's important to maintain the body's level of vitamin D. Studies have been showing that increasing vitamin D levels can make the common flu and COVID-19 less severe if they are contracted. Low levels of vitamin D may lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome. Finally, people with low levels of vitamin D can be at risk for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.

Research suggests that getting enough vitamin D can improve mood and lessen the chances of depression. Studies also suggests that vitamin D can aid in losing weight. One study showed that people on a diet plan and taking vitamin D supplements lost more weight than people who were just on a diet plan. Consuming extra calcium and vitamin D may suppress hunger, too, which will lead to weight loss.

A Deficiency in Vitamin D

Several factors affect the ability to get adequate vitamin D from the sun. Living in a city with lots of pollution and wearing sunscreen are the top two reasons people don't absorb sufficient vitamin D. People who stay mostly indoors or have dark skin also have difficulty absorbing enough sunlight. This is why it is important to get extra vitamin D from sources other than the sun.

Amounts of Vitamin D Needed

There are symptoms that signal vitamin D may be low. These include tiredness, aches, and pains. In addition, severe muscle or bone pain can be an indication that more vitamin D is needed. Stress fractures in the pelvis, hips, or legs may indicate that further testing needs to be done. Vitamin D levels can be easily determined by a simple blood test and then possibly an x-ray to check the strength of bones.

Overall health can be improved with the simple act of taking more vitamin D. It is recommended that infants receive 400 IUs daily, children and teens should have 600 IUs, adults under 70 should have 600 IUs, and adults over 70 should have 800 IUs. A combination of natural sources and supplements can ensure a healthy body for years to come.