Vitamin D: How To Safely Have Fun In The Sun
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By Mia Bolaris-Forget
Recent research has show that “sun-worshiping”, at least in moderation in not only, not harmful, but actually good for your. Again the key is moderation, but getting your daily dose of D (vitamin that is) can help debilitate, debilitating diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, some cancers, multiple sclerosis and even depression.
And, while it may be a bi simple to catch some rays during the longer, warmer summer months, the rest of the year may leave most of us working folk at risk for a significant reduction in an amble amount of sunshine.
But, you can always get your daily fix via the foods you eat and through dietary supplements.
According to the National institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, most of us can get a sufficient amount of vitamin D by spending only 15 minutes in the sun a few time a week (sans sunscreen), since “unprotected” skin soak up ultraviolet radiation, turning it into vitamin D.
You can also bolter your vitamin D intake by indulging in eating salmon, mackerel or tuna, and by sipping on fortified juices or milk; as well as sinking your teeth into D-rich breakfast cereals, yogurt, and some soy foods to name a few. D is classified as a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it gets stored in your fat tissue so your body can draw on it and use as needed.
The exact amount of how much each of us needs is still up in the air, though some suggest a daily dose of 200 international units (for those 50 and younger), 400 international units for those 51 to 70, and 600 international units for those over 70. But, some organizations bump up the daily-recommended dosage for certain age groups. In fact, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfed babies and other children who may not get an ample amount of vitamin D, a daily dosage of 400 IU is recommended. And, The Canadian Paedoatric Society suggests that expectant moms and women who breastfeed take 2,000 international units daily.
In addition, The Canadian Cancer Society advises that adults take 1,000 IU of vitamin D throughout the winter months, when sunshine and the opportunity to go out and enjoy it is less. Just make sure (according to The American Cancer Society) that adults do not exceed 2,000 international units daily and children aren’t given more than 1,000 IU of vitamin D each day.
Also, for those living below the 34th parallel (from Los Angeles to Columbia, SC), the good news is that you can get your recommended dose of D daily, all year long, while those who live above the 42nd parallel (areas from southern Oregon to Milwaukee to Boston) are faced with climate that prohibits amble vitamin D production from November through February. So, it’s best to boost you D intake via diet and vitamin D supplements.
And, while getting outdoors is a good thing, remember to protect yourself if you plan on spending more than 15 minutes in the sun. While it’ll help guard against the damaging effects of the sun, it won’t block out all the good-for-you vitamin D. According to experts, even with an SPF of 15, you’ll still get 7 percent. And, the vitamin D is still there for the taking, even on overcast days, making it just as important to protect yourself, but still get outdoors.
Plus, since vitamin D is, as we mentioned previously, fat-soluble and stored for use on an “as-needed” basis you don’t have to get it every day to reap it benefits.
Taking in the sun a few times a week should suffice, especially if you eat plenty of vitamin D containing foods and/or take a dietary supplement to boot. Experts note that if you experience regular and frequent muscle pain, weakness or fatigue, you just may be lacking in vitamin D, and suggest talking to your health care provider and having him or her do some tests.
Be weary however of tanning bads. According to experts they are NOT recommended and are said to give off ultraviolet rays that are 15 time stronger than the peaking midday sun. Plus, they can increase your odds of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.
Last but no least, while its virtually impossible to OD on natural vitamin D (from the sun, with just 15 minutes unprotected exposure daily), it IS possible to get too much D via supplementation. Experts suggest that once your body has gotten enough naturally-generated D, it stops absorbing it and if you supplement pushing your intake over the recommended daily dosage, you risk toxicity which can lead to kidney stones, dehydration, confusion, and even heart problems. So, when it comes to vitamin D, moderation and balance are key.
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