The Benefits of Vitamin D

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.

 

  1. Maintaining strong bones and muscles. Both vitamin D and calcium are necessary for strong bones and teeth.
  1. Reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases and infections. Vitamin D reduces the risk of diabetes, some cancers, multiple sclerosis, allergies, and asthma.
  1. 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).
  1. 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.

 

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Got Milk?

IMG_0671 IMG_0672Got Milk?

 

 

As a kid, I drank whole milk. I didn’t like skim milk because I thought that it tasted like water. I could taste the difference between whole milk and low fat milk as well. As a got older, I really couldn’t tell the difference between the two. Some say that they can’t test the difference between whole milk and skim milk. One day, I decided that I really didn’t like drinking milk as much as a used to, so I started drinking orange juice with calcium and eating more yogurt to get my calcium. Then, my aunt told me about Silk soy milk. I had read that it can lower your cholesterol, which is always helpful. It is also a good source of calcium and vitamin D.  Once I tried soy milk, I never went back to cow’s milk.

 

Now, you may be wondering why I gave you that background, right?  I have talked to others that have said the same thing.  Also, I started shopping at Trader Joe’s last year.  I know that they carry foods that are all-natural and organic.  The label on their milk says that the cows were not treated with rBST.  Recombinant bovine somatotropin is a protein hormone that allows dairy cattle to produce milk. A dairy cow’s peak production for milk is 60 days after she gives birth to her calf.  A cow supplemented with rBST can provide even more milk.  (According to Global Dairy Innovation, one dairy cow produces enough milk in one day to provide milk for 125 school children’s lunch).   The goal is always to produce more to make more money.  I’ll give you a minute to think about that.

My son drinks Trader Joe’s whole milk.  He has a speech delay, and he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder last year.  Doctors don’t know where he falls on the spectrum.  Also, my son is very sociable.  Autistic kids typically are afraid of social interaction.  Whether or not he proves to have autism down the road, he still needs to eat healthy.  He’s tried soy milk, but doesn’t like it as much as regular milk.  In fact, I’m the only one in my household that drinks soy milk. Regardless, we know that the milk he drinks he good for him.  By the way, it does taste better than milk that I used to buy from the supermarket. Continue reading “Got Milk?”