Vitamin D

How Important Is Vitamin D and How Should You Get It?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 by: Jo Hartley
Tags: vitamin D, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) There is new evidence that recommends that daily Vitamin D intake should be ten times higher than the current U.S. RDA. When Vitamin D levels were studied in 1997 it was concluded that low levels were normal. There was speculation that this had an anti-cancer effect.

Numerous studies since that time have shown that low levels are actually deficiencies that may lead to cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, hypertension, MS, and Crohn's.

Individual factors that influence how much Vitamin D you need include: 1) whether you spend time outdoors in the midday sun, 2) how far north you live, 3) the color of your skin, 4) your age, 5) your diet, and 6) your weight.

Your body is capable of producing Vitamin D the natural way through your skin. To do this you need sun exposure on bare skin without sun block, at or near the middle of the day.

Usually 10 or 15 minutes in midday summer sun is enough. This leads to the production of approximately 10,000 IU of Vitamin D.

Paradoxically, skin cancer may actually be prevented by the very thing that so many are afraid causes it. Sunshine! Vitamin D is one of the known protections of skin cells against precancerous changes. Sunlight is the main source of Vitamin D for most people. UV-B rays from the sun on the skin change cholesterol into Vitamin D and this is a strong anticancer preventer. UV-B is at the highest levels during midday hours during summer months. This is the very time we have been advised to avoid sunlight! UV-B is also blocked by sunscreen.

The best way to get adequate and safe UV-B exposure is to wear a hat to protect your face from the sun while allowing other body parts to be exposed to moderate amounts of midday sunlight. Stop before there is any indication of redness.

Factors that Influence How much Vitamin D You Need:

* Skin Color: The protective pigment of your skin will determine how long to stay in the sun. Darkly complected people may need to spend up to ten times as much time in the sun to receive the same amount of Vitamin D as lightly complected people. This is because heavily pigmented skin will block up to 95% of UV rays.

* Hair Color: Red or blond haired people with blue eyes are more at risk for skin cancer and need to be more careful about sun exposure.

* Air Pollution: This interferes with Vitamin D being manufactured because the particulate pollution reduces the amount of sunlight that can penetrate. Ozone depletion also causes minimization of exposure to what sunlight there is.

* Diet: In the past people ate more Vitamin D-containing foods such as butterfat, eggs, liver, organ meats, and seafood. Time spent outdoors was also more. If your diet is not rich in these sources of Vitamin D, supplementation is advised.

* Age: Aging involves a reduction in the production of D by the skin. Absorption of D from foods and the conversion of Vitamin D diminishes with age.

* Weight: Sunlight alone may not be adequate for overweight people. This sector is not as able to utilize Vitamin D3 as compared to leaner people. When we remember that approximately 2/3 of all Americans are overweight this is significant.

Current recommended U.S. Daily Reference Intakes (DRI) are:

* Infants 0-12 months, 200 IU

* Males and females 1-50 years, 200 IU

* 51-70 years, 400 IU

* 71 years and older, 600 IU

* Pregnant or nursing women, 200 IU

It is probable that even three times the DRI for an adult is not adequate if one is not receiving adequate sunlight.

Is Supplementation Necessary?

* Northern Latitude: People living in northern U.S. states, Canada and northern Europe can't manufacture D during the winter because the sunlight is too weak. During this time Vitamin D can only be gotten through food and supplements.

* Postmenopausal Women: More than half of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are also Vitamin D deficient.

* Australians: A large number of Australians are deficient in Vitamin D. The elderly are particularly vulnerable.

The recommended intake is likely far too low. During the winter months, people need to get 4,000 IU a day. Leading researchers are saying that they personally are taking supplements ranging from 1,400 to 5,000 IU a day.

There is varying opinion about what constitutes too much Vitamin D. Most agree that up to 2,000 IU a day is safe. Others say the upper limit should be the level that humans manufacture when exposed to sunshine. This is about 10,000 IU a day.

About the author

Jo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything! - Current Events - Simply Abundant Living

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