Research suggests that 75% of teens and adults in this country may be deficient in the so-called “sunshine vitamin”. Vitamin D is made in the body when the sun shines on skin unprotected with sunscreen – hence the term the “sunshine vitamin”. With more pollution, increased sunscreen use, and less outside activities, the impact on our vitamin D levels has become quite evident to the medical community.
While we can eat foods containing vitamin D, those foods may be limited in the typical American diet. Milk, some enriched cereals, fortified orange juice, and some fish can provide vitamin D.
Many people already know that vitamin D is important for strong bones, but fewer people are aware that the importance of vitamin D extends well beyond bone health. Research is hinting that vitamin D deficiency could potentially impact heart disease, blood pressure, infections, various forms of arthritis, certain cancers, mental health, and even cause our muscles to ache more!
Take charge of your health and ask your physician to check the vitamin D in your blood. After those results are available, consult with a knowledgeable health care provider. A dietitian may be your best guidance for correcting your deficiency with a combination of food, lifestyle, and supplements if warranted. All too often, when the deficiency is diagnosed, I hear of an inappropriate dosage of vitamin D suggested to correct the deficiency!