Are your kids getting enough Vitamin D? Learn how to get more naturally!
Vitamin D, often called the sunshine vitamin, is a nutrient that can be found in some foods and can be produced in the human body through exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D has many benefits for the human body, but its most crucial function is to support the body's ability to absorb calcium. People with Vitamin D deficiency can develop rickets, which is thin, soft, or brittle bones in childhood, and osteoporosis. Vitamin D also activates genes that release dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters which promote proper cognitive function and mood stability. Low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that occurs at the same time each year. Find below more benefits of adequate Vitamin D levels and information to help you ensure your family is getting enough of this important nutrient.
Benefits of Vitamin D include:
- Supporting cognitive function and mood stability
- Optimization of calcium & phosphorus metabolism
- Prevention of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, heart attack, congestive heart failure, osteoporosis, stroke, and some types of cancer
- Regulation of insulin activity, blood sugar, immune system responses, muscle composition, and blood pressure
- Lower risk of excessive inflammation and some infections
Guidelines for Sunlight Exposure and Vitamin D:
Limit sun exposure without protective clothing or sunscreen to 5 - 10 minutes at a time, possibly up to 15 minutes for darker skin types, several days a week. Leave face and arms uncovered during that time to ensure your body gets the direct sunlight it needs to produce enough Vitamin D. Be aware of your own safe sun limits for your skin type and color, and use sunscreen as soon as you reach your limit for sun exposure. Learn more about safe sun exposure and Vitamin D production here.
Foods that Can Boost Your Vitamin D Intake:
- Grass-fed beef
- Cod liver oil
- Egg yolks
- Dark leafy green vegetables
- Sun-grown mushrooms
- Fortified milk (Try fortified almond milk if you're sensitive to dairy.)
- Fortified orange juice
- Fortified cereals and grains (If your family is gluten-free, read labels to see if safe products are fortified.)