“D”-fend Your Health
D-fending your health: Are you D-ficient?
Depending on the reports you read online, 50 – 85 percent of humans on this planet aren’t getting the correct amount of Vitamin D. This vitamin is vital to our health in many ways and when we’re deficient, our bodies tend to fall apart. Children with a low quantity of D can wind up with soft or brittle bones, a state known as rickets. Adults get the same condition, but it’s called osteomalacia.
In addition, if you’re very low in D, you run the risk of getting cancer. The good news is that if you’re getting a good amount of D, it’s a great way to prevent the big C from rearing its ugly head.
Vitamin D has a slew of qualities that benefit us on a daily basis. It not only helps the body fight cancer, but also skin disorders, heart disease and various autoimmune diseases (like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.), just to mention a few. It also helps our body absorb calcium and phosphate, which allows us to develop our bones and teeth.
Vitamin D can help by:
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Improving your immune system function
- Reducing bouts of depression
- Assisting you to lose weight
The fact is, quite a few nutritionists and medical professionals consider this nutrient magical because it does so much to help the body function well.
The best way to get Vitamin D is completely free and often readily available. It’s sometimes called the “sunshine” vitamin, because the sun is, in fact, the best source. Spend about fifteen minutes in direct sunlight a day (with as little clothes as possible and no sunscreen) and you’ll get all the D you need.
While some people might think the sun actually transmits this vitamin, the truth is our body manufactures it. First it converts a previtamin in our skin into a form of D called D3. That then goes through the liver and kidneys, where it becomes the active form of D that we can use.
Note: It’s important not to expose your skin to too much sunlight. Don’t allow yourself to burn.
If you can’t get sunlight, the next best thing is to eat fish, eggs, or organ meat, which have an abundance of vitamin D. Cod liver oil is also an excellent source of D and has Omega-3’s to boot.
You can also opt to take supplements, but you must be careful when doing so, because it is easy to overdo it. Consult your medical or nutritional doctor and get a blood test to find out what the proper dosage should be.
Causes of deficiency
Our society tends to live indoors in this modern world. Most people rarely venture outdoors into the sunlight and when they do, they coat their bodies with a protective sunscreen. While this is important if you’re going to be in the sun for long, it also stops you from getting UV rays, which help your body produce Vitamin D. Plus, there are areas in the north where it is hard to get any decent amount of sunlight in the fall and winter.
In addition, we have been warned so many times not to get too much sun that I think many people have gone to the other extreme. As with anything, moderation is key. Of course, it is unhealthy to sunbathe on the beach for hours, but our tendency to avoid all UV rays is equally problematic.
The bottom line is that it’s very easy to get all the vitamin D your body requires to aid the immune system and defend against cancer (and other illnesses). Take a walk once a day when the sun is shining. Enjoy the rays and the healthy benefits they offer.