Why are so many people at risk for vitamin D insufficiency? Actually, there are several factors that influence the amount of vitamin D in your body each day. Vitamin D is formed in the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight, or it’s consumed in vitamin D-rich foods, but there are many reasons for inadequate sun exposure and low vitamin D intakes today.
The season or calendar month is a major risk factor for vitamin D insufficiency because sunlight is reduced during late autumn, winter, and early spring. Sun exposure is critical to vitamin D health and the risk for vitamin D insufficiency rises with the increase in sunscreen use and time spent indoors. The geographical latitude of your home location is another determinant of daily sunlight exposure, and skin color is a key influencer as those with darker skin are less efficient at converting sunlight to vitamin D internally. Other critical factors that can create a greater need for vitamin D include increasing age, being overweight, lack of exercise, and low intake of fish and other vitamin D-rich foods in the diet.
Low vitamin D has been linked to suboptimal heart health, immune function, bone health, and an increased risk for certain cancers. An increasing number of scientific experts believe current vitamin D intakes and blood levels are too low to support optimal health. In fact, it has been estimated that as many as 80% of Americans may have “insufficient” blood levels of vitamin D.
So if you’re concerned that your vitamin D intake may not be all that it could be, consider getting 10–20 minutes of sun exposure daily without the use of sunscreen, exercising regularly and achieving a healthy weight, and eating fish and vitamin D-fortified foods more often. And because we know that obtaining sufficient vitamin D from foods is difficult, find a high-quality dietary supplement of vitamin D3, the most potent form of vitamin D found naturally in the human body.
To find out if you may have insufficient Vitamin D levels, take the new Shaklee Vitamin D-ology online quiz developed by Shaklee scientists. Stay Well, Elise