The ABC’s of Vitamin D
Is your diet deficient in this essential nutrient?
There’s something you can easily do to protect yourself against ailments leading from cancer to depression, and that’s get sufficient Vitamin D. But, as many as one in two people aren’t taking the cure!
Doctors know that Vitamin D helps build strong bones by promoting the absorption of calcium, and research indicates it’s important to almost all body tissues. In fact, low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to increased risk of breast and prostate cancer, colon polyps, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and depression.
How can you tell if you are low on Vitamin D? Because there are often no symptoms, most people learn they are deficient after a blood test during a routine physical.
Cautious sun exposure is one of the easiest – and most effective ways – for you to get enough Vitamin D. The National Institute of Health says 10-15 minutes of exposure to the sun twice weekly with your arms, hands, face or back – without sunscreen – is usually enough. And the good news is that Vitamin D is stored in the body so you can build up reserves to draw on later.
So what to do if a blood test indicates you need more Vitamin D, and exposure to sunlight isn’t practical? “Ask your physician for advice,” suggests Donna L. Henshue, RN, for Morningstar Senior Living’s Life Care Community, Moravian Hall Square in Nazareth, PA. “Usually recommended in doses from 800 IUs up to 2,000 IUs, Vitamin D is readily available at your drug store or supermarket in over-the-counter supplements.”