Don't let Vitamin D deficiency ruin your Winter!..
- on November 4, 2010
Vitamin D has gained popularity over the years because of the many positive effects that it has on health, including decreasing our vulnerability to certain infectious diseases such as THE FLU!! In fact, many doctors recommend taking vitamin D as opposed to getting a flu shot, which has terrible side effects regardless of whether or not you experience the symptoms. Vitamin D also plays a key role as a nutrient for general health. The sheer number of health issues it's been linked to is remarkable. In the past few years, studies have shown that a lack of the vitamin may be the primary culprit in depression, heart disease, pregnancy problems, birth defects, skin and other cancers, and multiple sclerosis. However, even if you don't have any of these conditions, Vitamin D may be just what the Dr. ordered. Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D., director of the vitamin D, skin, and bone research laboratory at the Boston University Medical Center says, "Many of my patients report a dramatic improvement in their feeling of overall well-being after they increase their vitamin D levels."
Translation: Low vitamin D will result in your body working far below its potential.
According to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, experts believe that up to 77 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient. And in the winter months the importance of vitamin D increases. This is because during the winter season we are not exposed to much sunlight, which stimulates natural production of this vitamin in our body. According to Dr. Holick, if you live north of Atlanta, it's impossible to get enough vitamin D from sunlight between October and March, no matter how exposed you are. And it's tougher for people of color to make vitamin D—the melanin in dark skin decreases vitamin D production by up to 90 percent.
Unfortunately there are not many good nutritional sources of vitamin D. The few that do exist are cod liver oil, salmon, mushrooms, and egg yolk. As you can see, this is one vitamin that really requires supplementation. And if you buy foods fortified with vitamin D, or are taking vitamin D supplements, make sure that you are getting D3 rather than D2, which is a plant-based form and isn't easily metabolized.
So to bolster your immune system this winter, and to experience all of the great health benefits associated with adequate levels of vitamin D, ask your Dr. about supplementing with a quality source of vitamin D.