Vitamin D deficiencies are one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the United States. One of the main reasons for this is that the average person spends most of their time indoors, and gets very little sunlight. If you naturally have a darker skin tone, it is even more difficult for the body to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. Supplementing with vitamin D is recommended for most Americans, but why is it so important? Let’s take a look at what you should know about vitamin D, including what it does in the body, and how much you should supplement with.
What is Vitamin D?
Even though it’s called vitamin D, it’s actually a hormone, not a vitamin, and it plays a role in many different functions in the body. Vitamin D is necessary for the body to properly absorb calcium from the gut and into the bloodstream, making it one of the most important nutrients for bone growth and healthy teeth. It also helps regulate the amount of phosphate in the body, promote a healthy immune system, support hormonal balance, and some studies have even found that optimal levels of vitamin D may help prevent certain diseases. Vitamin D deficiencies have also been linked to emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and unstable moods.
How Much Should You Take?
It’s recommended that most adults take 5,000 IU’s of vitamin D daily. However, some people absorb only a small percentage of what they take, and for those people higher doses may be recommended, but always check with your healthcare professional first. Vitamin D is also fat-soluble, which is why it’s often recommended that you take your vitamin D supplement with a meal containing fat to help it absorb properly. While you can get some vitamin D from sunlight and certain foods, taking a supplement each day can help ensure your levels are optimal.