While I have always been aware of the importance of Vitamin D, I did not understand it to the extent that it should be understood. Recently, two friends of mine suffering from Vitamin D deficiency shared with me the various health issues that can stem from something that most of us take for granted. In adults, Vitamin D deficiency may precipitate or exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

Vitamin D is important in more ways than you think. It helps to maintain bone density, healthy bone growth and the normal functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin D has also been correlated to improving a host of illnesses, such as colon cancer, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, seasonal disorders and depression. And it is crucially important in aiding the body’s absorption of calcium. In fact, if you don't get a sufficient amount of Vitamin D, calcium supplements are almost useless.

According to Holick, a professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Biophysics, and Director of the General Clinical Research Center at Boston University School of Medicine and Director of the Bone Healthcare Clinic at Boston Medical Center, it has been estimated that 1 billion people worldwide are Vitamin D deficient or insufficient.

What can you do to ensure you get an adequate amount of Vitamin D daily? Although you can take Vitamin D as an oral supplement, the best way for it to be absorbed is by sun exposure. While I tout the use of sunscreen on a daily basis (and still do), I recommend 15 minutes of pure sun every day, prior to sunscreen. My favorite time is in the early morning while sipping my tea. And add oily fish to your diet, if you haven't already.

Oz Garcia PhD, lifestyle and longevity expert, agrees. He recommends the following to increase your daily intake of Vitamin D:
  • -Start off with no less than 10 minutes of sun a day and work up to 20-40 minutes
  • -Avoid the sun from 12-3pm to prevent sun burn
  • -Eat cooked salmon (3 ½ ounces provides 90% of the DRI, Daily Recommended Intake)
  • -Eat tuna fish (3 ounces provides 50% of the DRI)
  • -Eat eggs (1 whole egg provides 6% of the DRI)
For questions about your health as it relates to Vitamin D, please consult your doctor.

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