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The Sunshine Vitamin: Vitamin D

By Emily Lindholm

Vitamin D had been talked about a lot lately.  What's this Vitamin D craze?  Well, perhaps it's not a craze.  People might just be gaining more knowledge about the truly amazing benefits of Vitamin D.  One reason that Vitamin D is rising in popularity is that doctors have been discovering that most Americans are Vitamin D deficient.  Could it be that we're spending too much time at work and not enough time in the sunshine?  Whatever the reason, supplementing with Vitamin D is super beneficial.  

The Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine molecule.  Our bodies naturally produce it when we're exposed to the sun.  But, why do we need it so much?  Well, it serves the functions of a healthy immune system.  Plus it regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, helping our bones and teeth stay strong.  Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone abnormalities later in life, such as osteoporosis.  

Other important functions of Vitamin D:

  • Fights disease
  • May reduce depression
  • Boosts weight loss

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

There are many factors that can contribute to Vitamin D deficiency, which include living with low exposure to sunlight, living in a highly polluted area, and even using sunscreen.  This isn't to say you should ditch the sunscreen altogether, but maybe just save it for when you really need it.  

The symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Fatigue, aches, and pains
  • A general sense of not feeling well
  • Muscle and bone weakness
  • Stress fractures

To know if you have a Vitamin D deficiency, you can get a blood test performed by your doctor or nutritionist.  They'll be able to tell you what your levels are.  

How to Get More Vitamin D

Obviously, spending time in the sun or taking supplements will help boost your Vitamin D.  The following foods also contain a good amount of Vitamin D.

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Egg yolk
  • Shrimp
  • Milk
  • Yogurt

If you feel that you need more Vitamin D, eat a diet rich in these foods, and ask your doctor about Vitamin D supplements.  

There has been a discrepancy in the right amount of Vitamin D that we need each day. Vitamin D is measured in "International Units," so when you look at a supplement, it will say the number of IUs it contains.  The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences recommends that adults up to the age of 70 should take 600 IUs of Vitamin D each day.  

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Draper, Utah.

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