Vitamin D Deficiency and How to Make Sure You Have Sufficient Levels?
You already know that your body needs vitamin D to build strong and healthy bones but that’s not the only thing the sunshine vitamin has going for it. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium (another crucial bone-builder), plays a role in proper cell growth, and even reduces disease-causing inflammation.
Here are some signs that you may need to up your Vitamin D levels:
- Bone and Joint Pain
- Weak or Painful Muscles
- Persistent Colds and Flu
- Feeling Constantly Tired
- Feeling Depressed
How Do I Find Out My Vitamin D Status?
The only way to determine your current vitamin D status is through a simple blood draw. The test results are usually available within a few days. While a Registered Dietitian can assess your intake of vitamin D through foods and supplements, there is no way of knowing how efficiently your body is absorbing this nutrient without this quick test.
How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?
- Birth to 12 months: 400 IU
- Children 1-13 years: 600 IU
- Teens 14-18 years: 600 IU
- Adults 19-70 years: 600 IU
- Adults 71 years and older: 800 IU
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 600 IU
Unless you are very young or old, 600IU has been determined to be “sufficient” for most individuals, but if you are already deficient or a person who has difficulty absorbing vitamin D, 600IU won’t be enough.
How to Get Enough Vitamin D?
The best way to get Vitamin D is from sunshine. UVB rays penetrate the skin turning cholesterol into vitamin D. During the summer, sunlight exposure might not be a big challenge, but during the winter it becomes quite the dilemma. A majority of individuals work indoors and coupled with natural weather conditions (cold, rain, snow and ice), it is even more difficult for most individuals to meet their needs for vitamin D.
Eat chlorophyll-rich greens (they act like stored sunshine) such as kale, collards, parsley, wheat grass, spirulina, and also mushrooms. Fish and eggs are good sources. If you supplement, check with your doctor to be sure it won’t interact with medications.
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