In our on going series on boosting your immunity, this week we are focusing on the importance of Vitamin D. Several years ago at my annual OBGYN exam, my doctor tested my vitamin D level. I was shocked to find out that I was way below the normal range. The results stunned me. I considered myself a person who spends a lot of time outdoors playing with my kids, running, etc. Even more shocking to me, was that our older sister, who sits inside in a home office all day, had levels higher than I did.
Vitamin D is essential for the formation, growth, and repair of bones and for calcium absorption. It also helps improve muscle strength, reduces inflammation, and can enhance your mood and energy. While vitamin D has many functions, today we are going to focus on how it supports immune function. We all know that immune support is essential when entering the cold months of winter. Late summer or early fall is the best time of year to check your vitamin D levels since it is at the highest it will be all year. This test is performed simply at your doctor’s office. If your levels are below 50 ng/mL right now, then it may end up being much lower once winter arrives and you need it most!
Vitamin D has a profound impact on the health and function of your cells. A vitamin D deficiency has been linked to prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancer, as well as, depression and mood disorders.
How do you get enough vitamin D you may ask? Sunlight gives the body vitamin D, but in today’s society, none of us get enough time in the sun, and when we are in the sun, we are coated in sunscreen. There are some great dietary sources of vitamin D:
· Fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil
· Cooked wild salmon
· Cooked mackerel
· One whole egg
· Porcini mushrooms
First things first, get your doctor to check your vitamin D levels so that you can make sure you are within a normal range. If you’re not, then your doctor will advise you as to what supplement you need to take to help you get there. There are some excellent Vitamin D drops available at your local health food store. Here’s to a healthy fall and winter!