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You Need Vitamin D. It’s essential for a robust immune syetem and balanced hormones.

You Need Vitamin D.

It’s essential for a robust immune syetem and balanced hormones.

By Adetoun Adeyemo. April 16th, 2020. 12:30pm.

You need vitamin D. It’s essential for a robust immune system and balanced hormones. We’re all most likely depleted having been indoors for the past few weeks. I will take you through general guide to getting natural vitamins D in 20-30 minutes in morning sun and sunscreen free. Some studies suggest 15 minutes midday is ideal. It’s best to gauge what exposure for your skin. Fueling your body with the proper nutrients is key to running your best. One of the most important? Vitamin D, which is essential to building and maintaining strong, healthy bones. And while there are plenty of ways to get vitamin D—the sun, certain foods, and supplements—new research suggests there are variants in your body’s genes that can predict the production of it, too.

In the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers analyzed the genotype (the genetic makeup of a person), phenotype (the physical characteristics of a person due to their genes), and other clinical information from 417,580 people registered with the U.K. Biobank, an ongoing study in the United Kingdom with the goal of improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of various illnesses and diseases.

Vitamin D 25OHD levels—a.k.a. the best marker of a person’s vitamin D status—were measured at two points in time: during the initial assessment visit, conducted between 2006 and ’10; and during a repeat assessment visit, conducted between 2012 and ’13.

 




 

What Is Vitamin D?

Sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your skin produces when exposed to sunlight. It is also available in some natural and fortified foods, as well as in supplement form.

Vitamin D plays a key role in calcium absorption and bone mineralization, the process in which bones are formed. When you have sufficient levels of vitamin D, you’re at a lower risk of developing stress fractures, Barbara Lewin, R.D.N., explains, because the vitamin optimizes your bone density.

Of course, vitamin D is not the only driver of strong bones. Lewin noted that all athletes should still have adequate amounts of calcium, vitamin K, and minerals like magnesium in their diets to promote healthy bone structure.

While bone strength is the most lauded benefit of vitamin D, the nutrient can also help fight inflammation, improve muscle strength, and even reduce allergy symptoms, Lewin says.

What are the Benefits of Vitamin D?

There are numerous benefits of vitamin D, perhaps the biggest being strong, healthy bones. According to Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public health, calcium is responsible for building and maintaining your bones. Vitamin D’s role is to help your body actually absorb that calcium to ensure your bones are solid rather than weak and brittle.



In addition to boosting your bone health, a 2020 study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism found that vitamin D could increase your lean body massand enhance muscle function overall. Previous research suggests this is likely because skeletal muscle has vitamin D receptors that help regulate muscle function and performance.

Black woman, afro hairstyle, running outdoors in urban road. Young female exercising in sport clothes.

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended amount of vitamin D is 600 international units (IU) per day. But levels vary person-​to-person, because ultimately, a recommendation is just that—​a recommendation.

Because of its crucial role in building strong bones and muscles, achieving adequate levels of vitamin D is a step toward injury prevention, Lewin says. She recommends that all runners take the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test to gauge their own dietary needs, but says that you can also look at your diet to see if you’re getting enough of the vitamin.

Do You Have a Vitamin D Deficiency?

Some common symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, bone or muscle soreness, recurring stress reactions and fractures, frequent illnesses or infections, and even depression. But most of the time, you can be deficient in vitamin D without even knowing it, which is why it’s so important to get tested.

To know your own levels, you have to take the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test. Usually, a level of 20 nanograms/milliliter to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate, while less than 12 ng/mL indicates a deficiency in vitamin D. Lewin noted that she does not abide by these guidelines, however, and recommends that her athletes have levels in the upper 40s to 50s so it’s best to work with your doctor to figure out what is right for you.

If you have repeated stress fractures or bone-related issues, your doc might also prescribe a bone density test in addition to a blood test.

Since we absorb the vitamin in the sun, some athletes assume that if they’re frequently outside, they’ll be fine—but even the sunniest climates can’t always provide enough D, especially if you exercise with sunscreen on, which blocks your skin from absorbing it.

Lewin often sees athletes who train outdoors without sunscreen (which we don’t recommend) where she works in southern Florida, and yet, they are still vitamin D deficient. “They’re always surprised when they get their test results,” she says.

There are a few groups that are at a greater risk for developing a vitamin D deficiency than others. These include people with darker skin tones (the melanin reduces the skin’s ability to produce the vitamin), vegans (most foods with naturally-occurring vitamin D are animal-based), those whose digestion issues limit their ability to absorb vitamin D (such as patients with Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, or celiac disease), and petite, fair-skinned women.


Do You Have a Vitamin D Deficiency?

Some common symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, bone or muscle soreness, recurring stress reactions and fractures, frequent illnesses or infections, and even depression. But most of the time, you can be deficient in vitamin D without even knowing it, which is why it’s so important to get tested.

To know your own levels, you have to take the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test. Usually, a level of 20 nanograms/milliliter to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate, while less than 12 ng/mL indicates a deficiency in vitamin D. Lewin noted that she does not abide by these guidelines, however, and recommends that her athletes have levels in the upper 40s to 50s so it’s best to work with your doctor to figure out what is right for you.

If you have repeated stress fractures or bone-related issues, your doc might also prescribe a bone density test in addition to a blood test.

Since we absorb the vitamin in the sun, some athletes assume that if they’re frequently outside, they’ll be fine—but even the sunniest climates can’t always provide enough D, especially if you exercise with sunscreen on, which blocks your skin from absorbing it.

Lewin often sees athletes who train outdoors without sunscreen (which we don’t recommend) where she works in southern Florida, and yet, they are still vitamin D deficient. “They’re always surprised when they get their test results,” she says.

There are a few groups that are at a greater risk for developing a vitamin D deficiency than others. These include people with darker skin tones (the melanin reduces the skin’s ability to produce the vitamin), vegans (most foods with naturally-occurring vitamin D are animal-based), those whose digestion issues limit their ability to absorb vitamin D (such as patients with Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, or celiac disease), and petite, fair-skinned women.

How Do You Get Vitamin D?

Since our skin starts producing vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun’s UVB rays, an easy way to get the sunshine vitamin is to simply spend time outside. The darker fall and winter months make this a little more challenging, since we have a smaller time frame to squeeze in a run in daylight, and the colder temperatures force us to cover up our arms and legs. If possible, go for a run on your lunch midday, or at least take a walk around the office when the sun’s high.

Studies have found that covering up with sunscreen may hinder production, but the problem is, UVB radiation can cause sunburns and skin cancer, so it’s important to wear sunscreen regularly. One way to increase vitamin D production while remaining protected is to choose a sunscreen with a lower SPF, as this will allow more UVB rays in. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, an SPF 15 sunscreen filters out 93 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 30 blocks 97 percent and SPF 50 keeps out 98 percent.

Even if sunscreen does block a percentage of UVB rays, though, the National Institute of Health points out that most people don’t apply sunscreen perfectly or forget to reapply it, so even when you’re wearing sunscreen, your skin is likely still making vitamin D.

There are many foods high in vitamin D that you can add to your diet, too, that can boost your levels, according to the NIH.

  • Salmon (570 IU per 3 oz)
  • Rainbow trout (645 IU per 3 oz)
  • Fortified milk (120 IU per 1 cup)
  • Fortified cereal (80 IU per serving)
  • Eggs (44 IU per 1 large egg)
  • Raw, white mushrooms exposed to UV light (366 IU per 1/2 cup)

You’ll also want to avoid certain foods and drinks that can strip the calcium away from your bones. Lewin warns that caffeinated beverages like soda and too much protein in your diet can leach calcium.

For her vitamin D-deficient athletes, Lewin recommends they take a multivitamin as well as a vitamin D supplement, which can come in pill and liquid forms. Before you begin taking supplements, however, it’s important to get tested and consult with your doctor.

The Bottom Line

Overall, it’s unnecessary to consume more vitamin D than what’s recommended (600 IU per day). A blood test is the only way to know your levels, so check with your doctor to see how much of the vitamin you should be taking each day since it varies from person to person. Again, If you need to take a walk with the kids, it is necessary to rub some sanitazing on the kids, at this diffcult time or stay at the balcony for some sun. 

By eating a healthy diet rich in vitamin D too, continuing your weight-workouts, and adding in a supplement when needed, you should be well on your way to strong and healthy bones.


All products featured on Doublecrown Wellness Lifestyle are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

 

 
 
 

 

Published: 16/04/20

Courtesy: ESSENCE. WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN

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