Most associate Vitamin D with the sun. This is due to the fact that our bodies actually produces vitamin D through sun exposure. In fact, it’s one of the most effective ways for the body to get the vitamin D it needs.
However, since increased sun exposure is a known risk for skin cancer, many people don’t get enough natural sunlight to produce the amount of vitamin D that they need to maintain optimal health. While using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing to reduce the risk of skin cancer is a good thing, it also reduces your ability to produce vitamin D from the sun.
The good news is there are two other ways to ensure your body is getting enough vitamin D: eating foods that contain it (and play a role in its production and absorption) and by supplementation.
What Is Vitamin D?
We’re going to get a technical here: “vitamin D” is a little misleading. Vitamin D isn’t a vitamin in the scientific sense. It’s a nutrient that’s considered a “pro-hormone” and must undergo a couple steps of chemical conversions to be active within the body. The difference between vitamin D and other vitamins is that the body produces vitamin D and can’t produce what we’ll call “true vitamins.”
Vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning that it’s absorbed along with fats and oils. Other fat-soluble vitamins include K, A, D, and E.
The Importance of Vitamin D in the Body
Vitamin D is integral to bone growth because it is needed by the body to absorb calcium. Without vitamin D, your body won’t be able to process the calcium that you take in through your diet or supplements.
Vitamin D plays many roles in maintaining a healthy body. It’s necessary for bone health, proper immune system function, and also impacts energy levels.
Adults who increase their vitamin D intake to a healthy level, often notice that they have more energy and maintain a more positive mood.
How to Get More Vitamin D: Foods and Supplements
Dietary supplements are the most widely recommended way to make sure that you take in a healthy amount of vitamin D daily. There are foods which have vitamin D or are fortified with Vitamin D, as well.
Some things you might consider adding to your diet include:
• Fatty seafood such as cod, salmon, tuna, and sardines
• Foods fortified with vitamin such as milk, orange juice, yogurt, and some cereals
Vitamin D is a necessary nutrient for ongoing health and wellness. If you’re a part of the Flex Fam, you’re getting Vitamin D and working to support your bone health daily–great job!
Your physician can check your vitamin D levels through a simple blood test and can make recommendations on supplements and diet based on your individual health and body type.