The sun might be all around us during the dog days of summer, but a surprising number of us still don’t get enough of the “sunshine vitamin.” In fact, an estimated 75 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. That means millions of Americans are missing out on the immune system-boosting power of this important nutrient.
Why You Need Vitamin D
The amount of vitamin D in the average American has been plummeting since researchers first began chronicling the data in the 1980s. At the start of a decades-long study, nearly half of the adults in the study had high levels of vitamin D as measured by blood tests. Within just 10 years, that number had fallen by nearly half.
This could be due to a range of reasons, such as the wide-spread publicity around too much sun exposure increasing our risk of skin cancer. But that bright spotlight on the sun’s health risks might mean many of us have become blinded to the risks of avoiding the sun completely and not getting enough vitamin D.
Most prominently is the effect that the sun has on common viral illnesses, such as the common cold (a type of coronavirus) and the flu. Several different studies have analyzed the role that vitamin D plays in strengthening your immune system against these respiratory illnesses, and researchers noted that statistical rates of cold and flu were higher in adults who had lower levels of the sunshine vitamin.
Similar, positive effects were even seen in school children, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
That’s nothing to sneeze at! And that’s not all, either.
Ensuring you get enough vitamin D may also:
- Reduce your risks of heart disease, which is the #1 cause of death around the world
- Reduce your risks of depression and other mood disorders
- Improve your ability to maintain a healthy weight (weight gain may reduce your immunity strength)
- Boost bone strength, by helping your body to better absorb calcium
- And so much more!
Signs of a Vitamin D Deficiency
In general, most adults need 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D a day (this jumps to 800 IU once you’re in your 70s). Babies need 400 IU and children need 600 IU.
A vitamin D deficiency may manifest itself as chronic fatigue, poor mood, weaker bones and weaker muscles. There are some specific demographics that may be at a higher risk of experiencing low vitamin D levels. This includes:
- People who live in areas that don’t get a lot of sunlight throughout the year
- Older adults, because your body has a harder time converting the sun into vitamin D as you get older
- People with pre-existing health conditions, specifically kidney disease, liver disease, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease
How to Get More Vitamin D
The most predominant way that most people get their vitamin D is through sun exposure. Most people would be able to maintain the right amount of vitamin D levels with just 10-15 minutes of sun exposure every few days, reports Harvard Medical School.
If you’re worried about the health drawbacks of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, you can choose times of the day during which the sun is at its strongest and also limit your time in the sun. Nature also offers a bounty of foods that provide all the dietary vitamin D that you need. Healthy examples that you can snack on right now, today, include:
- Canned fish (especially mackerel, sardines, etc.)
- Eggs (specifically the egg yolk)
- Chanterelle, morel, or portabella mushrooms
You can also enjoy many fortified foods that have vitamin D added to them, including milk, yogurt, plant-based milks, and cereals as well as take Vitamin D as a supplement.
Finally, no system in your body operates in a vacuum. This especially includes your immune system. There are many factors that affect your immunity, including thymic proteins. These proteins help your immune system respond to threats. BioProPlus-500 includes five bioidentical thymic proteins to help support your immunity, and also includes the micronutrient zinc that works well with vitamin D to support full-body wellness.