Summer is a time to soak up the sun while the weather is nice. And catching those warm rays has a health benefit that you might know about: vitamin D. Before we tell you the benefits of vitamin D, it’s important to remember that certain spectrums within the sun’s rays can cause skin cancer and lip cancer. Today, we will share the benefits of vitamin D along with some alternative sources for the nutrient.
Why Do Our Bodies Need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D aids our systemic health by supporting:
- Bones and teeth: This is the primary function of vitamin D. The nutrient aids in the absorption of phosphate and calcium, both of which are vital for development and strengthening of bones and teeth.
- Cell growth and differentiation
- Healthy Immune Functions
- Stable Insulin Levels
Studies have also shown that vitamin D can also help prevent muscular and bone pain, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and cancer.
How Much Vitamin D Do We Need?
Earlier this year, the U.S. National Center for Health and Statistics stated that around 25 percent of Americans are at risk for vitamin D inadequacy, while 8 percent are at risk for deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to tooth decay in children. Proper vitamin D intake is important for everyone.
The recommended daily allowances for vitmain D, as decided by the National Institutes of Health, are as follows:
- Infants up to one year—400 IU
- People between the ages of 1 and 70 years—600 IU
- People 70 years and older—800 IU
How Can We Absorb Vitamin D?
The best source for vitamin D is the direct source: the sun. Some researchers recommend between 5 and 30 minutes of sun exposure during peak times (between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.) at least twice a week to maintain proper vitamin D levels.
But if you are unable to spend that much time in the sun or are leery of the sun’s rays because of skin cancer risk, you can still absorb the recommended intake of vitamin D through a healthy diet or supplements. Vitamin D can be found in several foods, including: egg yolks, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, and mackerel), sardines, and enriched foods like mushrooms, orange juice, cereal and dairy products. You can also take vitamin D levels, but check labels for the amount of vitamin D per serving because vitamin D toxicity is possible. Be sure to consult your doctor before adding more vitamin D to your diet; your vitamin D levels could already be healthy.
Your oral and systemic healths are important, and vitamin D can help you maintain both. As a skilled dentist, Dr. James Fondriest can also help maintain your health. Call our dental practice today at 847-234-0517 for your appointment. We provide general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry to patients in the North Shore and greater Chicago areas.