The deal with vitamin D

Winter is just around the corner and that means one thing — cold season. But before rushing to the drug store to stock up on the usual tissues, cough drops and cold medicine, a person should consider one of the most important vitamins needed to stay healthy — Vitamin D. Vitamin D is key to many important aspects of a person’s health, and it’s not just in the winter time that most people are deprived of it.

According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, experts say that 77 percent of Americans are deficient, or lacking, in Vitamin D. A recent article in Women’s Health magazine explains that even though our bodies naturally make Vitamin D (sunlight converts substances in the skin into the vitamin), in order to get the necessary amount a person needs, one would have to soak up direct midday sunlight on the majority of the body for at least 15 minutes a day.

The human body’s lack of Vitamin D is a major problem, especially since it helps solve most of the body’s problems.

“It affects cell death and proliferation, insulin production, and even the immune system,” Director of the Vitamin D, skin and bone research laboratory at the Boston University Medical Center Michael F. Holick said in a recent interview with Women’s Health.

Holick explained that lack of Vitamin D has been crucial in cases of depression, heart disease, pregnancy issues, skin problems, cancers, weight problems and many other diseases.

“I take Vitamin D because there is a history of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes in my family and also, being a college student I’m more prone to other people’s germs,” junior Jade Carey, a nursing student at Liberty, said.

It seems that the easiest way to get the necessary amounts of Vitamin D is to take a supplement. The simple vitamin solution costs about five dollars at the local grocery store.

According to Alisa Bowman, a writer for Women’s Health, consumers should look for labels that read Vitamin “D3,” which is the vitamin our bodies make, since some companies make D2, which is plant based.

Doctors are even recommending Vitamin D supplements, especially since people are eating more and more unhealthy these days. Vitamin D can be found in some foods, but the simple fact is that people don’t eat enough of those foods (certain kinds of fish and fortified dairy), according to Medical News Today.

“Many of my patients report a dramatic improvement in their feeling of overall well-being after they increase their Vitamin D levels,” Holick said in the same interview with Women’s Health.

The recommended daily amount of Vitamin D for adults is 1,000 IU or more, which roughly translates to about one or two pills per day (read the bottle before ingesting).

Holick suggests taking a supplement that provides at least 1,000 IU (one pill) and drinking two glasses of skim milk per day for best results.

So start treating more than cold symptoms this winter. Think about your overall health and get the vitamins needed to stay healthy.

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