It’s time to enjoy more sunshine

Almost half of us – regardless of age, race and state of origin – are deficient in the sun vitamin.

Why is this important: We need vitamin D for healthy bones and teeth and a strong immune system, but we just don’t get enough from the sun and other sources.

  • What this means: 42% of us have less than 20 nanograms of “the sunshine vitamin” per milliliter of blood – the amount we need to thrive.

What is happening: According to a recent study from the University of Texas, 85% of children who needed surgery for fractured or broken bones had vitamin D deficiency. Several studies have observed low levels of vitamin D in patients with of pneumonia and COVID.

  • Deficiency rates are of particular concern among adults over 70 – who need more vitamin D than younger people – and people of color – whose melanin in their darker skin makes it harder to get. of vitamin D from the sun.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Have it tested. The only way to know if you are deficient is to get a blood test from your doctor. If you can get this test, do it. If not, still consider looking for sources of vitamin D, because chances are you need it.
  • Catch the rays. The fastest way to boost your vitamin D levels is to get it straight from the sun. But it is impractical to rely solely on the sun. You need 15 to 20 minutes of sunless tan a day to get enough vitamin D, and that’s unrealistic for most people, said Steven Clinton, a professor of medicine at Ohio State University in Washington. Post.
  • Eat well. Vitamin D is found naturally in certain foods — like oily fish, egg yolks, cheese and mushrooms — notes the UT Health Science Center. And keep an eye out at the grocery store for foods that have been fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, yogurt, orange juice, and cereal.
  • Use supplements. There are a multitude of multivitamins and supplements that offer vitamin D. HealthLine has a detailed list. Doctors recommend consuming 800 to 1000 international units (IU) per day.
  • But be smart. Too much sun can damage your eyes and skin and cause cancer, and taking too much vitamin D each day can lead to a buildup of calcium in your blood.

The bottom line: Vitamin D supports key elements of our health, but a deficiency is hard to detect. As we head into summer, spend more time outdoors—safely—to soak up this crucial ingredient for a long, healthy life.

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