Why You Need To Get Your Vitamin D

Above: Vitamin D is often called the 'sunshine' vitamin (Photo: R_Szatkowski/Shutterstock)
Above: Vitamin D is often called the 'sunshine' vitamin (Photo: R_Szatkowski/Shutterstock)

Summer’s on the way, which means days filled with sunshine. But despite what you may think, you should still make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D—and this calls for taking supplements. Because even with the sunny days (our bodies produce this vitamin when we get sun exposure), many of us may fall below the levels we should have. Besides, risking exposing your skin to too much of the sun’s UV rays isn’t worth it as a way to get your vitamin D. Here’s how and why D-ing up by taking supplements helps your body stay healthy.

It’ll help strengthen your bones

For your body to absorb calcium, it also calls for vitamin D. So to avoid developing osteoporosis, both D and calcium are crucial as they go hand in hand. If you’ve only been taking calcium, then sorry to break the news, but you may have been wasting the minerals you’ve been taking as it couldn’t be absorbed.

Supplements help ensure you get enough vitamin D since there are few food sources

It’s hard to fill your diet with solely food sources of vitamin D. Some of the foods that contain D are margarine, eggs, salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, swordfish and fish oils (halibut and cod liver oils), and while this is not a small list, they all contain a small amount of the vitamin (plus it might be hard to eat this small range of foods on a regular basis to make sure you’re getting the levels you need). When buying , milk and orange juice look for ones fortified with vitamin D. As for how much vitamin D you need, Osteoporosis Canada recommends taking 400 to 1000 IU for adults under age 50 without osteoporosis or conditions affecting vitamin D absorption (if you’re 50+, they recommend supplements of between 800 and 2000 IU). Talk to your doctor, too, to determine how much you need.

Following proper sun protection limits the vitamin D you get from the summer sun

You wear sunscreen daily and limit your exposure by staying out of the sun in peak hours, for example, so this will limit how much D your body can produce. Don’t even think about roasting in the sun and using vitamin D as your excuse—you’re risking skin cancer and aging, leathery skin, after all.

You increase your health and wellbeing by supplementing with D

Vitamin D is essential to your health—research has shown that having low levels of it has been linked to a wide variety of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, breast cancer, depression and weight gain. Making sure you’re getting your recommended daily allowance of this vitamin can lower your risk factor for many of these.

 

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and ElleCanada.com, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog, HealthandSwellness.com, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

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