Living Magazine Fall 2014 Living Magazine v2 - Page 11

Benefits of Vitamin D What are the benefits of vitamin D? Recent research has found that additional vitamin D may be good for autoimmune diseases, supporting healthy blood pressure, and protect against different types of illnesses. And, as you would expect, it also helps to strengthen bones. Typically, the amount of vitamin D needed to have an effect on any condition is higher than the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances). The most recent Institute of Medicine recommendations for vitamin D were increased from 400 IU to 600 IU per day for adults in response to new scientific studies that found additional benefits were gained with higher levels. Many felt that the recommendations didn’t go high enough based on the evidence. Can’t I get enough vitamin D from the sun? Many factors affect sun exposure, including skin pigmentation, clothing, and sunscreen. Light-skinned individuals need about 5–10 minutes of sun exposure at least three times a week between 11 am and 2 pm in spring, summer, and fall. The goal is to get adequate sun exposure without getting burnt. Unfortunately, many people have a hard time meeting their sunshine needs. On the bright side, if you do get the necessary exposure, your body should be able to store enough for use during the winter months to prevent rickets in children or osteomalacia in adults. So, the more vitamin D you can get during the warmer months, the less likely you are to experience vitamin D deficiency in the winter. Remember, your body can’t overproduce vitamin D from sun exposure. •  ontributes to overall health & wellness C • Provides calcium balance in the body • Supports a healthy immune system • Helps build strong bones • Maintains cognitive function What about fortified foods? Let’s say you eat primarily vegetarian, and your only source of vitamin D was soy milk. On average, you would only get 100 IU of vitamin D a day if you simply consumed a cup of soy milk with your cereal in the morning. You could get additional vitamin D by drinking fortified orange juice and eating fortified cereal, but you would still be far below the minimum of 600 IU. Even if you added salmon and two eggs once a week, you would still average only about 200 IU per day. What about my children? The American Academy of Pediatrics currently suggests that all infants, children, and adolescents receive 400 IU of supplemental vitamin D daily. Kids usually fare better than adults thanks to outside play, assuming they live in a place where sun exposure is easily obtained. However, children certainly spend far more time indoors today than in past generations. Children may need a supplement just like their parents to meet optimal needs. Dr. Parker recommends: Lifelong Vitality Pack: provides 1600 IU of vitamin D per day, which agrees with organizations that recommend higher levels. a2z Chewables: provides 400 IU per