The Importance Of Vitamin D & Where To Find It
Vitamin D (also known as the “sunshine vitamin”) is produced by the body in response to sun exposure and is important for a number of reasons, such as maintaining strong, healthy bones, preventing depression and reducing the risk of a range of conditions, including cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
In addition, Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from food, which aids in the prevention of fractures and brittle bones. This is vital in children to avoid conditions such as rickets, a cause of bowed legs, knock knees and weak bones.
Some of the many benefits of Vitamin D are to help:
- Maintain the health of bones and teeth
- Support the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system
- Prevent type 1 and 2 diabetes
- Regulate insulin levels and aid diabetes management
- Support lung function and cardiovascular health
- Influence the expression of genes involved in cancer development
- Improve cognitive development and function
- Prevent/reduce symptoms of depression.
Most people get this vitamin from sunlight — when the sun shines on your bare skin, your body produces its own Vitamin D. It is estimated that sun exposure on bare skin for roughly 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times per week allows most people to produce adequate amounts but it breaks down quickly, so during cloudy months such as winter, your reserves might run low.
If you’re feeling tired, depressed, sluggish and getting sick more often, due to decreased levels of Vitamin D, you can top up your body’s reserves by eating foods such as fatty fish (tuna, mackerel and salmon), some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk and cereals. Otherwise, Vitamin D supplements will do the trick!
Learn more about the benefits of alternative medicine online offered at the Australian School of Herbal Medicine.