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Do you get enough Sunshine Vitamin?

Do you get enough Sunshine Vitamin?

Health update from Dr. Lara

We live in the Sunshine State, and summer will soon be upon us. You might think that Floridians get plenty of the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D. But, you may not be correct in that assumption. Why is this vitamin so important, and why aren’t we getting enough?

Why is Vitamin D vital to your good health?

Most people understand the importance of Vitamin D for maintaining bone health. It helps your body to absorb calcium and build bones. Without proper levels of this vitamin you are at risk for osteoporosis or bone fractures.

Yet there are many other reasons to include Vitamin D in your healthy goals. While it is not a “cure all” for diseases, a deficiency in Vitamin D is known to be a contributing factor to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism indicates that there is a distinct correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and obesity, as low Vitamin D levels are prevalent in people with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can be a warning sign of impending heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Are you at risk for Vitamin D deficiency?

Take this quiz to find out. Then read the explanations below!

1. Do you use sunscreen?
2. Do you take a shower and use soap within 48 hours after sun exposure?
3.  Do you soak up the sun through a closed glass window?
4. Do you drink at least 10 tall glasses of Vitamin D fortified milk daily?
5. Is your skin pigment darker than a very fair complexion?
6. Do you carry excess weight or fat pads?

What can cause Vitamin D deficiency

1. Sunscreen is an absolute necessity to help prevent skin cancer, so never stop using it. However, sunscreen can lead to lack of production and absorption. An SPF of 8 can block as much as 95% Vitamin D absorption. Forty percent of your body would have to be exposed to the sun, without sunscreen, between 12 and 2, in order to get absorption of Vitamin D according to VitaminDcouncil.org. Their research indicates that the torso absorbs the most, then arms and legs, lastly hands and face.

2. There have been recent reports indicating that it takes the body up to 48 hours to fully absorb the majority of Vitamin D from the surface of your skin into the bloodstream. Claims have been made that washing your entire body with soap can reduce absorption rates. Water alone does not appear to have that effect. (Natural Society.com)

3. Vitamin D cannot penetrate glass, so if you do your sunbathing on a closed in porch or patio, you are not getting the benefits of the sun.

4. While milk is a healthy source of Vitamin D, you would need to drink ten tall glasses of milk per day to achieve your daily requirement. Other foods that contain Vitamin D are fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) as well as cheese and egg yolks. However, researchers have found that it is difficult for the average person to obtain enough through their diet.

5. According to Harvard University, people with darker pigmentation or more “melanin” have a great risk of Vitamin D deficiency. This natural sunscreen slows down the absorption of the vitamin from the sun.

6. Excess weight or fat areas decrease the body’s ability to absorb the all important vitamin. A recent report in the Harvard Health Publication newsletter indicated that excess weight and lack of Vitamin D go hand in hand.

What to do if you need more Vitamin D

Now you have the reasons you need Vitamin D and why it is possible that you do not have enough. To be sure, have your doctor do a routine blood test and make recommendations for you. Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and easy to take. And the benefits to your health are huge!

Enjoy our Florida sunshine safely, and improve your overall health and wellness by making sure your body has enough Vitamin D.

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