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Heavy D

The sunshine vitamin is more important than we thought

Your parents or grandparents probably remember getting a disgusting dose of cod liver oil during the winter months to supply their vitamin D if they lived anywhere other than California, Nevada, Arizona or Florida. When multivitamins became more readily available, scientists felt most of us were getting all the vitamin D we needed, especially considering that it was being added to cereals and milk. It soon became the forgotten vitamin.

As often happens in the field of nutrition, right when we think we have things figured out, a new study pops up and changes everything. Researchers now think that few of us actually get all the vitamin D we need, unless we’re in the sun a lot. Having too little vitamin D has been linked to ‘a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis,’ according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The article states that the RDA for vitamin D, which is currently set at 400 I.U. per day, is inadequate. In fact, if there’s an absence of exposure to sunlight, a minimum of 1,000 I.U. per day is required to maintain a healthy concentration of the vitamin in the blood.

The article also says that, if possible, people should get daily exposure to the sun without sun block or clothing that shields all of the body. That doesn’t mean stay out till you burn. As little as seven to 10 minutes of exposure to hands, face, arms and, if possible, legs does the trick. And do take a daily multivitamin that includes up to 1,000 I.U. of vitamin D.

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