Health: The Importance and Benefits of Vitamin D

mehealth & fitness

Most of you have probably been hearing a lot about vitamin D in the media. I wanted to share some information with you and how best to ensure your whole family is getting enough of this very important vitamin.

Vitamin D is an important steroid hormone (not really a vitamin at all!) that is responsible for controlling at least 2000 of your genes. Vitamin D is formed in your skin from exposure to sunlight. The benefits of vitamin D start as it goes directly into your genes via your skin where it helps prevent the types of abnormalities that ultraviolet light causes. Dr. Joseph Mercola, who runs www.dr.mercola.com, states: “hence, when you avoid the sun entirely, or slather on sun block whenever you go out, your skin is not making any vitamin D, and you’re left without this built-in cancer protection.  [1]

My daughter’s pediatrician is Dr. Bob Sears in Capistrano Beach, California. You have probably heard of some the Sear’s books: The Baby Book (over a 500,000 copies sold) and The Vaccine Book. Dr. Bob told me at our last health visit that he had tested over 100 of his patients for their vitamin D status. He said that out of the 100 plus patients he tested – only about five were in the low-normal range. The rest of the children tested low in vitamin D. This is surprising since we live in year-round sun!

The best way to get vitamin D is from the sunlight. The body will stop producing vitamin D once it has generated enough for effective use. [1] If you choose to supplement your diet - please do so under the guidance of your health professional. The best form of  vitamin D is D3. D3 is the form found in natural food sources such as liver, egg yolks, and fish.  You can find out what your vitamin D status is by asking your doctor for a blood test called a 25(OH)D. Dr. Mercola states that the optimal value of vitamin D that you should strive for and that provides protective properties is 50-65 ng/ml, with even higher recommended levels (65-90ng/ml) required for more serious disease prevention and treatment. [1]

Vitamin D is found in cod liver oil (Dr. Mercola recommends the brand Carlsons), salmon, mackerel, tuna fish, sardines, milk, margarine, ready-to-eat cereal, egg, liver, beef, and cheese. [2] I hope this information sheds some light (no pun intended) on an important vitamin for the whole family!

[1] Mercola, Joseph, Dr., Pearsall, Kendra, Dr., Take Control Of Your Health. Mercola.com. Pages 150-169.

[2] Kohlstadt, Ingrid., Food and Nutrients in Disease Management., CRC Press – Taylor & Francis Group. Page 590

How do you make sure you get enough Vitamin D? What are easy ways to get increased exposure to Vitamin D?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Melissa Northway is a mom, has her Masters in Nutrition, and writes about topics that interest her – which are most things! She has written a storybook app and book called Penelope the Purple Pirate.  Her tomboy was the inspiration to write about a girl who likes to have adventures with her friends, and at the same time teach little ones the importance of treating others with kindness and respect. She supports Mrs. P Be-A-Famous-Writer Contest and is donating signed Penelope copies to the first 10 submissions received in the 4 to 8 years of age category. Go here to see the fun prizes the final contestants will win: http://www.contest.mrsp.com/Prizes.aspx. You can read more about Penelope and Melissa at: www.melissanorthway.com.

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Jen Tilley

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