When it comes to vitamin D, we really can’t stress enough how important it is. The human body relies on it for basic upkeep and protection against some serious illnesses and disorders, and allowing a vitamin D deficiency to creep up on you could have long-lasting consequences.
Before you check the medicine cabinet to ensure that your daily oral supplement includes plenty of vitamin D, here’s some good news: you’re probably already getting it free of charge. Doctors recommend daily sun exposure in order to soak up some crucial vitamin D, and we can’t let that task pass us by.
If you’re not spending some time outdoors every day, here’s some food for thought:
- Vitamin D is a regulator. It regulates blood pressure, insulin levels, and calcium and phosphate in the bloodstream.
- We owe a great deal of our bone health to all the vitamin D we soak up on a daily basis. Getting enough vitamin D facilitates the mineralization and growth of bones, allowing you to develop a strong and healthy body.
- Bad things come to those lacking in vitamin D! People with vitamin D deficiency have been known to suffer from high blood pressure, increased irritability, respiratory infections in infants, osteoporosis in the elderly, growth failure, lethargy, autoimmune diseases (such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes), cardiovascular disease, cancers (including colon, breast, lung, lymphoma, prostate, and others), and complications in pregnancy.
- The tissues in our bodies depend on vitamin D to function currently, and the most extreme vitamin D deficiency can be devastating. Children suffer from rickets and the bones of adults begin to soften (osteomalacia). The body can’t properly absorb the dietary calcium that it needs, and it can’t carry out the mineralization of new-forming bone. When that happens, the regular growth of bones is interrupted, leaving them malformed.
- When you get enough vitamin D, it affects the expression of genes that regulate cell proliferation. There’s a link between vitamin D deficiency and cancers, and getting enough vitamin D lowers your risk.
- If that weren’t enough, here’s two more: vitamin D maintains the nervous system, and it activates the killer T-cells that protect you from infection. Remember that the next time you’re trying to fight off a stubborn illness!
In other words, vitamin D is a big deal. Soaking up all you need isn’t much a hassle (we recommend 10-45 minutes for lighter skin and 2-2 ½ hours for darker skin). If you can’t make it outside (you work the night shift or live in a winter wonderland), don’t panic. Oral supplements have been proven to work just as well, and it’s worth the purchase if it’ll keep you healthy.
Remember, vitamin D isn’t a luxury so much as a need. You may feel healthier or look healthier when you’re getting enough, but what matters is what you can’t see. Your body works around the clock to keep the system up and running and your daily dose of sunlight may be just the thing to ward off next season’s flu.
You can worry some other day about the cold or how to work the sun into your busy schedule, but keep in mind that your body won’t wait and a vitamin D deficiency could be disastrous. So what are you waiting for? Go file your taxes on the front porch!