Iâ€™ve been coming across a lot of recent research showing that Vitamin D plays a much more important role in preventing disease and building health than anyone ever suspected. Yet research also shows that many people are deficient in this valuable nutrient.
Why the deficiencies? Well, with all the concerns about skin cancer, more people are avoiding sunlight, the major natural source of Vitamin D or using sunscreens that block the bodyâ€™s access to vitamin. Yet if you are fair skinned, you only need 5 to 10 minutes of direct sunlight on as much skin as possible to give you all the vitamin D you need, and about 10-20 minutes for dark-skinned people. In winter, when the sunlight is weaker, you can safely sunbathe for a little longer without risk of skin cancer.
Also, we tend to eat less of the foods that are rich sources of this vitamin, like sardines, mackeral or salmon and organ meats. In my motherâ€™s day, children were often given a daily dose of cod liver oil, an excellent source of vitamin D, and another source, butter, came from healthy pasture-fed cows, not cows stuffed with grains in feed lots.
Most people know that vitamin D is good for our bones, butr did you know that itâ€™s also necessary for healthy immune function, strong muscles and the health of your heart? Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to muscle weakness and pain, increased risk of hypertension and congestive heart failure, and autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also showed a correlation between low levels of vitamin D and weak, senstive airways, and children whose mothers had low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy are at higher risk of developing asthma.
How much vitamin D do you need to get its protective benefits? Lots more than the recommended daily allowance. Your practitioner can help you determine just how much you need, and whether or not you might need supplements. To talk to a natural health practitioner with a sound understanding of nutrition, email the Renew You Centre for Wellbeing and Longevity at firstname.lastname@example.org