Big D energy
Updated: Jan 29, 2021
No, not that D! (Although, I like where your mind was headed.) I'm referring to vitamin D - a vitamin that so many of us are deficient in. Nearly half of all adults are vitamin D deficient, and the rates are alarmingly higher for Blacks and Latinx - at 82% and 69%, respectively.
The most common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include:
> dark skin
> being overweight (due to a reduced ability to absorb the vitamin optimally)
> a vegan diet
> limited exposure to sun
A prolonged vitamin D deficiency can result in many chronic conditions - the most obvious being osteoporosis - but can also lead to diabetes, hypertension, obesity, fibromyalagia, and depression (also not a shocker). A vitamin D deficiency can also result in more frequent colds and respiratory tract infections, since vitamin D plays a critical role in keeping your immune system strong. (Which we all know is super important nowadays more than ever!)
NIH, Office of Dietary Supplements
So, what can you do to up your vitamin D intake AND absorption?
Bad news first:
1) At least half, and up to 90% of vitamin D is produced by your skin absorbing it from the sun! (WTF, winter?!)
2) Vitamin D is naturally present in very few foods: the flesh of fatty fish having the highest amounts, followed by beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks.
Now for the good news:
1) Nearly all milk in the US and Canada is voluntarily fortified with vitamin D. If you practice a vegan diet or don't consume dairy, plant milk alternatives are also often fortified with vitamin D.
2) Vitamin D supplements are extremely effective and relatively inexpensive. And most multivitamins already contain vitamin D, so if you're already taking a multivitamin, check the nutrition label to see if D is in there. You'll want D-3, as it's twice as effective at raising levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream as D-2. 15 mcg or 600 IU is the recommended daily amount.
Now go get that D! (I had to.)
In good health,