Originally today was supposed to be a video of me making some delicious gluten free lemon muffins, however I came down with a cold so everyone thought it better that I not have anything to do with mixing my germs into a yummy recipe. As it is, I will bring to you a different topic: vitamin D. What is it? Why do we need it? Do you need it? Is it worth the health benefits it supposedly gives you?
First of all, what is vitamin D? Vitamin D is a vitamin that is different to other vitamins due to how we synthesize it inside our bodies rather than ingesting it by some means. It’s exposure to sunlight, or at the very least anything producing ultraviolet-B rays that does it for us: we take that and turn it into the vitamin D, and we’re not the only ones! I remember being taught in my equine 4-H group that horses also need the same exposure, and so do a lot of other animals. This is why your pets love to lay in whatever patch of sun is filtering through the windows, why certain reptiles and amphibians need sun lamps. Another, lesser way to get vitamin D is to add in foods such as fresh produce, milk, eggs, and fish. However, this does not get enough of the vitamin into your system to be relied upon.
But why do we need to have vitamin D? What does it do for us? This topic is still widely debated, not if it helps so much as how. Outcomes you might not notice: you’ll be happier, you will be more resistant to colds (clearly I should have been taking some), it helps to regulate your blood pressure and leaves you with healthier skin. The more debatable effects of vitamin D are how it helps to combat diseases such as some cancers, heart attack, and Altzheimer’s. These have not been verified and many doctors claim that more studies are needed to gather more information about these such cases.
Do you need vitamin D? Probably. Possibly. Most likely you’re not synthesizing enough from the sunlight you’re exposed to in order to reap the benefits from it (this includes wearing sunscreen every time you’re outside—sunscreen is good at protecting you from the harmful rays, yes, but it’s also good at keeping out the useful ultraviolet-B rays). Especially if you’re working the majority of the time indoors or live in a place with more cloud cover, smog, or a longer winter. The recommended dosage for people aged 1-70, regardless of pregnancy, is 600 IU (international units). Those over 70 years should bump that up to 800 IU and those younger than 1 year may take up to 400 IU (although a lot of what they need is in the breast milk you’re providing, mommies!).
All in all, vitamin D is a good supplement to take if you’re not able to get an adequate amount of sun, plus a balanced diet that includes fish, milk, eggs and fresh produce. I’ve seen a marked difference, in myself and in others around me who have taken it for a length of time. A boosted immune system, clearer skin and an extra boost of happiness are some pretty cool benefits and worth the price of taking vitamin D, especially if you live in colder climates or mostly indoors.
Where can I get vitamin D?
Locally you should be able to find it in any pharmacy, such as Walmart, CVS and Walgreens. If you are unable to find it, you can order some online at Amazon or Sunshine Products. This is an over the counter supplement, so no need to get a prescription for it.