One of the leading nutrients on the forefront of scientific research is vitamin D. Also called the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is important for immune system support, blood sugar health, and energy.   A deficiency in this essential macronutrient is unknowingly plaguing millions of people worldwide. In order to avoid a vitamin D deficiency, you must take conscious, proactive steps to combat the factors that affect absorption. Vitamin D supplementation is the ideal method for reducing deficiency risk, especially in the winter. Sunlight is also a simple and natural approach for balancing vitamin D levels.
Things That Affect Vitamin D
NOW Supplements, Vitam... Buy New $9.20 (as of 10:15 EST - Details) Factors that affect vitamin D absorption are sometimes easy to overcome; however, as you will read in the following post, factors such as skin color and air quality are far less controllable. Here are some things you should be aware of if you are concerned with keeping your vitamin D levels in check:
The use of sunscreen has been touted as a healthy method for preventing sunburn, skin cancer, and excessive aging of the skin. While this may be true, sunscreen can actually increase the risk for cancer because of its strong blocking action against vitamin D.  Sunscreen typically blocks UVB rays, the rays responsible for activating the production of vitamin D. If you plan on going outside for a long period of time, allow your skin to soak up the rays without sunscreen for at least 15-20 minutes. Then, apply an organic sunscreen to all exposed areas.
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Body fat absorbs more vitamin D and acts as a storage center for the nutrient. Having a healthy body fat percentage can be helpful for ensuring adequate vitamin D levels all year round, regardless of whether you are supplementing or not.  Obesity, however, tends to correlate with lower vitamin D status, prompting many health officials to believe that being overweight increases the risk for deficiency. A healthy weight loss plan may reduce the likelihood of vitamin D deficiency, along with other health conditions.
3. Skin Color
Melanin, the substance that gives skin its pigment, competes for UVB to produce vitamin D. That means the more melanin you have (or the darker your skin color), the greater chance you will suffer from deficiency.  Dark-skinned people need more time in the sun, or more International Units (IUs) of vitamin D from supplements, to raise vitamin D blood levels into a healthy range.
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