WELLNESS--Up until a few years ago vitamin D3 was little known. More recently it has made the news as a crucial compound that many of our bodies systems depend on. It is crucial for the appropriate absorption of Calcium and Phosphorus as well as being a key component to fight off disease. Illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis have all been linked to Vitamin D deficiency. More recently, mental health deficiencies like cognitive impairment and depression have been linked to vitamin D deficiency.
An estimated 40% of the world’s population has low levels of Vitamin D with African and Latin people having an even greater chance of D deficiency. There are many reasons that vitamin D levels have dropped including the fact that people are not outside as much as they used to be. The sun is a great source of vitamin D but in order to reap the benefits most studies suggest that one needs to be in the sun for 15 to 20 minutes with most of the torso exposed. That is not easy to accomplish with our busy schedules, and with all the added screen time in our lives, we have even less time to be outside.
Because of these staggering numbers, doctors have made a greater point of testing people for their Vitamin D3 levels. The test you want to ask for is the 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test or 25(OH)D test. You can ask your doctor or you can send away for a kit to test yourself.
Once you find out if your levels are low, there are many options to boost your intake of Vitamin D. The first is the sun, but if you don’t have time to get to the park or the pool, foods can also be an excellent source of vitamin D. Fatty fish like tuna, mackeral, and salmon are excellent sources along with certain mushrooms, sardines, eggs, salmon, beef liver, herring, sunshine, and finally, supplements.
The FDA recommends 600 IU’s of vitamin D a day, but ask your primary care provider what amount of supplementation would be right for you.