Your Best D-fense
Are you getting enough?
Vitamin D has been a hot topic in the news. Recent studies show that vitamin D — the "sunshine vitamin" — offers a multitude of important benefits including supporting healthy heart function, immune and bone health. And surprisingly, up to 80 percent of Americans may have insufficient levels. The Harvard Public Health Review offers these tips to keep from being D-ficient.
source:Harvard Public School of Health
Daily Dose of “D”
The body is smart: It makes no more vitamin D than it needs. But a total intake greater than 2,000 international units (IU) per day has generally not been recommended. The IU is a standard set by the Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences in 1997.
Benefits of “D”
If you think getting the proper dose of vitamin D is not important, Harvard School of Public Health has a thing or two to say about it. Evidence shows that a little extra “D” can help lower the risk of colon and breast cancer. Aim for getting 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day — this likely will require an extra vitamin D pill, in addition to your multivitamin.
Functions of “D”
Vitamin D helps ensure that the body absorbs and retains calcium and phosphorus, both critical for building bone. Laboratory studies show that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth and plays a critical role in controlling infections. Many of the body’s organs and tissues have receptors for vitamin D, and scientists are still teasing out its other possible functions.
Two forms of vitamin D are used in supplements: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. While scientists believe that vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 are similarly effective, it turns out that the marketplace may answer the vitamin D question for you: More and more supplement makers offer vitamin D3 in their products.
Sources of “D”
The sun is the most potent source, but be careful not to overexpose yourself, as too much sun can lead to skin cancer. Vitamin D fortified foods include milk and juice, but fatty fish is the only natural source of vitamin D. More information about vitamin D can be found at hsph.harvard.edu