Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a host of chronic diseases. Research shows that vitamin D deficiency is linked not only to fatigue and depression, but also to osteoporosis, heart disease, dementia and cancer.
If you are low on this vital nutrient, follow these 4 steps to optimize your Vitamin D:
1. Get a safe sun exposure. No better way to get Vitamin D but the sun. The important sun’s rays are ultraviolet B (UVB). The Vitamin D you get from exposing bare skin depends on:
- The time of day. UVB radiation is highest in the middle of day.
- The amount of skin. The more skin is exposed, the more Vitamin D is produced.
- Presence of barriers. Cloud cover, sunblock, glass (even untinted) and smog blocks UVB penetration.
- Skin type. Get half the sun exposure for your skin to turn pink. Pale skins make Vitamin D more quickly than dark skins. That’s about 15 minutes (paler skin) to an hour (darker skin) for twice a week.
2. Eat more D-rich foods. Generally food provides a very limited source of Vitamin D. It’s nearly impossible to get the right levels from food alone, but a fair amount would come from fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks and fortified milk.
3. Take the right supplement. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), the easiest absorbed by the body is the most recommended. The Endocrine Society suggests taking 6,000 IU/day for 6 weeks to correct deficiency.
4. Know your Vitamin D levels. When it comes to your health, leave no room for guesswork. The standard way to measure how much Vitamin D is in your body is the 25-hydroxy (25OH)Vitamin D blood test.