Will You Get Enough Vitamin D This Summer?
Are you Getting Enough Vitamin D?
Not many people realise it, but vitamin D plays an absolutely essential role in the maintenance of our good health.
Without it, we cannot regulate the amount of calcium or phosphate in our bodies, and we become incredibly prone to a great many health problems.
What's more, vitamin D has a hugely beneficial impact on our immune systems.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
Vitamin D deficiency can also cause widespread musculoskeletal pains, fatigue and frequent headaches, as well as negatively impacting upon your ability to concentrate, and increasing the likelihood Alzheimer’s later in life.
According to Dr James E. Dowd, author of The Vitamin D Cure, Vitamin D deficiency “affects more than 200 million people worldwide” and contributes to the development of conditions as diverse as:
High blood pressure
Unfortunately, nourishing our bodies with the correct amount of vitamin D is quite challenging.
Dowd estimates that our diets can only supply around 10% of our recommended daily vitamin D intake, and casual exposure to sunlight is rarely enough to enable the natural synthesis of this all-important regulatory hormone.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps that you can take to maximise your vitamin D intake, and reduce your risk of developing vitamin D deficiency.
Step One: Adjusting Your Diet
Acid-forming foods like fatty red meat, sugary cakes and grains leave an acidic residue in your tissues when they’re digested. As these toxic compounds build up in your system, your body undergoes a stress response in an effort to neutralise the imbalance.
This stress response normally involves shutting down the production of various growth hormones, and leaching alkaline minerals like potassium and calcium from your bones, rendering the vitamin D in your system less effective, and exacerbating the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
To avoid this, try to ensure that your diet focuses on alkaline foods like:
Sprouted barley grass
These foods all contain a large amount of the alkaline minerals potassium, calcium and magnesium, which are needed to facilitate bone formation and regulate the health of your musculoskeletal system.
The alkaline minerals in foods like kale also help to reduce the symptoms of acidosis, and encourage the natural synthesis of vitamin D in your liver – allowing you to maximise vitamin D levels, without damaging your body’s delicate internal balance.
Step Two: Increasing Your Exposure to Sunlight
Sunlight naturally triggers the complex chemical reactions responsible for converting cholesterol into vitamin D, but a large amount of sunlight is needed to supply your body with the high amounts of naturally synthesised vitamin D needed to reinforce the health of your musculoskeletal system.
Oftentimes, casual exposure to the sun is not enough to meet this demand.
Instead of relying on passing moments in the sun, Dr James Dowd recommends that we deliberately increase our exposure to sunlight by sunbathing at least three times a week in order to maximise our vitamin D intake.
Generally speaking, an hour’s exposure for each of those days will be enough to facilitate the synthesis of vitamin D, but it’s important to remember not to take that hour in one go: It’s incredibly easy to burn while sunbathing, and carefully regulating your exposure is the only way to safely supply your body with vitamin D while minimising your exposure to the harmful UV rays implicated in the development of various skin cancers.
Anyone with pale skin is recommended to take no more than 15 minutes of constant exposure at a time, while people with darker skin who are less prone to burning are recommended to take 30 minute bursts of sunlight exposure at hourly intervals.
It is also important to remember that the vitamin D synthesised by natural sunlight cannot be stored for long in your body.
Increasing your exposure to sunlight should be done at least once a day to ensure that your body has access to the high levels of vitamin D needed to regulate your magnesium and calcium levels, and protect your bones from degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis.
Step Three: Using a Vitamin D Supplement
A vitamin D supplement can help you to top up your body’s reserves, maximise your vitamin D intake, and ensure you don’t develop symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
Dr Dowd recommends that everyone supplement their natural vitamin D levels with at least a 2000 IU supplement, to help nourish your body on the days that you can’t get enough sunlight, and to ensure that your body always has access to sufficient levels of vitamin D.
Older adults and people with health concerns are advised to take a slightly stronger dosage (4,000 IU) though, to counteract the natural reduction of vitamin D production that occurs with both age and stress.