Take Vitamin D and See-A Vitamin You Can’t Be Without

In the past vitamin D was thought to be responsible for growth and stability of your bones.  Now we have found that vitamin D is responsible for a dozen other medical conditions including stroke, depression, asthma, high blood pressure, heart attacks, prostate cancer as well as osteoporosis or weak bones.

Vitamin D is readily available from you skin which makes Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight.  Just 10-15 minutes of sunlight twice a week is usually sufficient to generate all the vitamin D you need.  However, excessive exposure may increase your risk of skin cancer.  Unfortunately as people get older the skin is not as effective to make vitamin D and older people need vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D is available in cod liver oil, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna fish.  Egg yolks, cereals, and fortified milk are other sources.  Supplements containing 1000-2000 international units are usually helpful sources of the vitamin if you can’t get adequate amounts through your food.  Vitamin D supplements are best taken with the largest meal of the day as food appears to help the absorption of the vitamin.

Doctors can check your vitamin D level with a blood test.  A blood level of less than 20ng\ml indicates a deficiency while levels 21-29ng\ml indicate a vitamin insufficiency and should require supplementation.

Bottom Line: Vitamin D deficiency is more common than we thought and can lead to more than soft bones.  Get your vitamin D level check at least annually and if you are “down a pint” put some back in your tank with inexpensive supplements.

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