If you’re interested in reducing your risk for certain types of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, or depression then you may want to look into the benefits of Vitamin D. More research is coming out every day indicating that the majority of us have Vitamin D deficiency, which is increasingly being linked to these health problems and perhaps numerous others.
Vitamin D is not really a vitamin but rather is a steroid hormone that affects over 2000 genes in our bodies. Our skin produces Vitamin D when exposed to UVB sunlight. The problem is that we have become like cavemen; rarely seeing the light of day, faithfully applying sunscreen and covering up when we are in the sun, and not getting nearly enough Vitamin D through our diets. Even those who exercise or play sports outside often do so in the early morning or late evening and so do not get much direct sun exposure.
So do you know your vitamin D levels? If not, consider requesting a 25-hydroxycholecalciferol vitamin D test, also known as 25 (OH) D, from your doctor. According to the Vitamin D Council, Vitamin D levels should be between 50-80ng/ml. If your levels are less than 50 ng/ml it is recommended that you receive at least 15-20 minutes of direct midday sun exposure (just enough to barely make your skin turn pink) each day to as much of the skin as possible. If you are unable to get this much sun, then supplementing with 2,000 – 5,000 IU per day of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) may be needed to ensure adequate Vitamin D levels. Individuals who have darker skin, are over age 60, overweight or obese, or who live at latitudes greater or less than 35 degrees may need longer exposure to UVB rays either directly from the sun or via ‘safe’ tanning beds or increased supplementation.
For more information on Vitamin D, go to www.VitaminDCouncil.org or contact a BaySport office to chat with one of our physiologists or physicians. If you are interested in improving your overall health and reducing your risk for various diseases, take a look at what role Vitamin D may play in your overall wellness plan.