After having my annual physical exam, my doctor advised me to take a vitamin D supplement since my levels were slightly low. He was not too concerned about this since my overall health is great. I know now that I must continue to take it along with vitamin C daily for optimal health. I was surprised since I’ve spent so much time outside this summer. I thought that I had been getting enough sunlight since that is the main source of vitamin D. However, having dark skin plays a role in low vitamin D levels. Melanin (a pigment) reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D once exposed to sunlight. I researched more about it and found some benefits of this vitamin.
- Maintaining strong bones and muscles. Both vitamin D and calcium are necessary for strong bones and teeth.
- Reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases and infections. Vitamin D reduces the risk of diabetes, some cancers, multiple sclerosis, allergies, and asthma.
- Helps mood. Many people are happy when they spend time in the sun. (I know that I tend to feel lazy when it’s raining outside). Our skin manufactures vitamin D as a result of sun exposure, as previously stated. It is believed to regulate brain chemicals that are responsible for mood (National Geographic).
- Plays a role in brain development. Low levels of vitamin D can be linked to disorders such as ADD, schizophrenia, and autism. My son takes 400 IU of vitamin D per day. A neurodevelopmental specialist at Children’s Medical Center recommended that dosage.
Since few foods contain vitamin D, (i.e. fatty fish, fortified milk or juice, egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver), it is best to take a supplement not to exceed 2000 IU per day. Also, enjoy 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight each day. Vitamin D levels should return to normal.