If you’re from the northwest, you probably love the outdoors, yet you’re pale as a ghost. The vast forests and vegetation we love so much can make it a little hard to catch some rays like this guy:
Besides fun and relaxation, basking in the sun also allows your body to produce vitamin D3 which is essential for your overall physical and mental health.
It’s been called the simplest solution to most health problems. D3 helps your immune system fight common infections such as the cold or flu. Many experts agree it helps reduce cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. It even helps DNA repair and improves metabolic processes than can lessen your chance of cancer.
Here’s a simple explanation. Your body produces D3 from skin exposure to direct sunlight. Or you can get the vitamin by eating it. Then your liver and kidneys transform D3 into Calcitriol, which controls phosphorus, calcium, bone metabolism, and neuromuscular function. All of these contribute to healthy teeth, bones, joint tissue, and your overall well-being.
Basically, D3 is pretty important.
Think you might be D3 deficient? Here are seven things to look out for:
You can contact your family doctor and explain that you have one of the symptoms or risk factors above. Your doctor can check your vitamin D levels with a simple blood test. Then you’ll know if you need to actively try to get more Vitamin D3. Though there is no formal consensus on how much Vitamin D each person needs, there are general guidelines:
Vitamin D3 pills are are available over the counter in nearly every drug department. This is the best option if you are low or deficient, because you know the precise amount of D3 you’re consuming.
Remember how vitamin D strengthens your bones? Vitamin K2 may help direct this process. Some believe taking both together is the best way to promote healthy bones and limit artery calcification (calcium deposits building up in your arteries). Be sure to ask your physician if you should be taking both before starting on D3.
D What? Make sure it’s D3. A synthetic form of D2 called Drisdol is not what you want to be taking. It produced negative side effects in some studies, so stay clear of it.
Eating these foods daily is a great way to catch up on your Vitamin D3. But, it may be a little bit harder to know exactly how much D3 you’re consuming.
Sun exposure is one of the easiest ways to make sure you get all of the D3 you need. But SPF blocks out the rays that make your body produce vitamin D3. Since it’s not recommended to expose yourself to the sun without sunscreen (and sunbeds are bad too) this option should be your last resort. However, if you prefer this method, 6 days of casual sun exposure without sunscreen can allow your body to produce enough vitamin D for 49 days without sun.
If you think you are having D3 deficiency symptoms, or you fall into an at-risk group, the best thing to do is speak with your doctor. They’ll test your vitamin D levels and help you come up with a care plan if needed.
Have you ever been vitamin D3 deficient or used a supplement? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.