How to Get Enough Vitamin D?

How to Get Enough Vitamin D?

Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Vitamin D is crucial for our bones and muscles. It also greatly affects our heart health and neurological system. Recently, scientists have found out that deficiency of vitamin D influences our mental health in a negative way. According to them, vitamin D is crucial for brain function. However, we often face an important question: How can we get enough vitamin D? Long ago, vitamin D deficiency were not an issue per se as today. It was mainly because in the past, people spend a lot of time outside, thus exposing their bodies to beneficence of the Sun’s ray. Today, when many of us work outdoors, deprived of sunlight, deficiency of vitamin D becomes an underlying cause of many diseases. For example, people who do not get enough vitamin D have 11 times greater risk to develop depression than people whose vitamin D levels are optimal. If we want to prevent negative consequences of the lack of vitamin D, we need to spend more time outdoors. But, how much time we need to spend outside depends on various factors. For example, people who have darker skin should spend from three to six hours daily outside, while people with fair skin need only 15 minutes of exposure to sunlight. Furthermore, the amount of exposure depends also on an altitude where we live. The further we are from the equator, the less vitamin D we will get. It is not the same whether we spend an hour in the sunlight in winter or in the summer. During summer, the angle of the sunlight enables more UVB to reach our skin and more vitamin D production. To find out more about how to get enough vitamin D, the article “Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin D” gives us the interesting tips.

How to Get Enough Vitamin D?

Getting Vitamin D from Food

Some foods contain Vitamin D, but unless you eat a lot of them all the time, they probably won’t provide enough to really live on. The most Vitamin D-rich foods are fatty fish that live in cold waters, like salmon and sardines.

Wild-caught salmon: 1694 IU per 6-oz serving
Canned mackerel: 497 IU per 6-oz serving
Farm-raised salmon: 411 IU per 6-oz serving
Herring: 364 IU per 6-oz serving
(Here’s more about the difference between wild-caught and farm-raised salmon). Other fish contain very small amounts of Vitamin D, but nothing really noticeable. So if you ate 6 ounces of wild-caught salmon every other day, you’d be able to get enough Vitamin D from food, but for most people that’s just not going to happen. Realistically speaking, most of us will have to rely at least partly on the other two sources: sunlight and supplements.

Getting Vitamin D from Sunlight

Sunlight is the way that humans were designed to get most of our Vitamin D. When sunlight hits your skin, you can synthesize it yourself from cholesterol. Studies have shown that a healthy adult can get most of her Vitamin D from 5-30 minutes of direct sunlight while the sun is high in the sky – it doesn’t take a huge amount.

Sunscreen prevents this from happening, so sun exposure with sunscreen doesn’t count for Vitamin D. You can read more about sunbathing and get a closer look at the studies behind all those claims here.

Additionally, an area of exposed skin is also a contributing factor in the vitamin D equation. The larger is the amount of our skin, the more vitamin D we will get. To maximize the effects of sunlight, we should include the foods rich in vitamin D in our diet. Therefore, wild salmon, eggs and sardines are precious sources of this potent vitamin. Keeping an optimal balance of sun exposure and optimum diet will prevent our body to develop health issues dependent of vitamin D.

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