We are soooooo close to the beginning of summer, I can almost taste it!! After the long, dreary winter months we Ohioans live through each year, the warm summer sun is always a welcome sight!!
With that summer sun comes one HUGE benefit – Vitamin D! There is no time like the present to get your daily dose of Vitamin D!
Vitamin D is the most extensively studied vitamin. It is fat-soluble and behaves like a hormone in our body, controlling the way some of our cells work. Here is the cool thing – when we are exposed to the sun, our bodies can actually make vitamin D in our skin!
Ironically, deficiencies of Vitamin D are on the rise. In fact, some estimates predict that a whopping 46% of the US population is deficient in Vitamin D.
Low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, falls, and fractures in the elderly population. Additionally, some research links low Vitamin D levels with a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis.
Conversely, getting enough Vitamin D can have positive impacts on your health, including:
- Lower risk of osteoporosis, falls, and fractures.
- Increased muscular strength.
- Mild reduction in depression symptoms.
- Improved management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- Reduced risk of cancers, including colon, breast, ovarian, kidney, pancreatic, and prostate.
Sources of Vitamin D
As mentioned above, sun exposure is an excellent source of Vitamin D is sun exposure. As little as fifteen minutes on a sunny day is enough to get an adequate dose of Vitamin D. Of course, be sure to protect your skin by applying sunscreen avoid the dangers of unprotected rays!
Foods are another great source of Vitamin D! Try fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, egg yolks, and sardines. In addition, milk and breakfast cereals are also fortified with supplemental Vitamin D.
Finally, sometimes a physician may recommend adding a Vitamin D supplement to your diet. If that is the case, be sure to choose the active D3 form and take only the amount your physician instructs.
Bottom line: Getting outside and enjoying that warm summer sun will benefit you more than you may know!