Who knew that Vitamin D was so essential to everyday life? It plays a role in almost everything that we do. It is essential for every body system to function optimally. Yet, many adults in America are deficient! Find out what you can do to ensure that your vitamin D levels are optimal!
To find out if you have a vitamin D deficiency, you can start by getting a blood test, specifically a 25-hydroxy vitamin D test, or 25-OH D test. An optimal level for most adults is 45 to 65 ng/mL, although some cases, higher levels are recommended.
How to Increase Vitamin D
If you discover that you need an increase in vitamin D, there are several things you can do to improve your numbers.
- The easiest way to get a boost is to get more sun exposure. Luckily, here in the Lowcountry, we have plenty of sunny days to take advantage of this. That means, stepping outside while the sun is out. The sun exposure does need to be unfiltered and unprotected, so do so with caution to avoid a sun burn. Here are some guidelines for sun exposure:
- Those with very light to light skin likely need 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure.
- Those with naturally tan skin can take unprotected sun for 15 to 20 minutes.
- While those with darker skin can safely take one to two hours of unprotected sun exposure.
- If sun exposure isn’t possible, or not sufficient, the next best way to increase vitamin D is to consume it through the food you eat. Fish, specifically salmon, tuna, and mackerel, and mushrooms are high in vitamin D. There are also higher levels of vitamin D in beef, eggs, milk, and cheese. Choose foods high in vitamin D to see a boost in your levels and balance this with plenty of vitamin rich fruits and vegetables.
- If you still need an additional way to boost your vitamin D level, supplements are your next option. A good supplement for increasing your vitamin D is a D3/K2 supplement, as recommended by your doctor. Find a high quality supplement, without fillers and artificial colors. A general starting point for a vitamin D supplement is around 2,000 IU each day. This should be individualized depending on your starting level and checked regularly to avoid a level from becoming too high.
Beneficial Relationships with Other Nutrients
Vitamin D and Magnesium are close partners in essential functions. Magnesium actually plays a role in over 300 enzyme systems in the body, including the conversion of vitamin D into its active form. That form of vitamin D is needed in the bloodstream to absorb calcium. Vitamin D and Magnesium supplements can be taken together.
What Vitamin D Does for You
Vitamin D isn’t a super hero, but it sure acts like one. Make sure that you are not missing out on all of these essential benefits.
- It’s an autoimmune booster and balancer
- It supports immunity
- It reduces adverse health conditions caused by inflammation
- It enhances gut health
- It promotes healthy bones
- It plays a role in healthy genetics and gene expression
- It serves as an antidepressant associated with “winter blues”
- It’s a brain booster
- It’s a cancer fighter
- It’s a Heart protector
Ask your healthcare provider about checking your Vitamin D levels during your next visit.