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Saturday
Aug292009

Vitamin D3 — The 'Sun Vitamin'

The importance of Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 promotes the absorption of calcium from food in the intestines and its re-absorption from waste in the kidneys, making it essential for forming and maintaining strong bones. 

Getting enough naturally

Vitamin D3 is naturally produced by our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight — or more specifically, to Ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays.  By exposing a relatively minor amount of skin, such as the arms, face and hands, to the sun for 10-15 minutes during peak hours, there is enough UVB exposure to meet our daily Vitamin D3 needs. 

Do you need to supplment?

Not all sunlight is sufficient to produce Vitamin D3.  Our bodies require UVB wavelengths of the proper frequency and intensity, and these rays are only present when the sun is quite high in the sky — at 45 degrees to the horizon or higher.  Unfortunately, not all geographies are created equally, and the necessary level of sunlight doesn’t occur everywhere.  While the sun soars high above the horizon daily in the tropics, it only reaches a high enough level in temperate regions in the spring and summer (and even then, only for a few hours each day from around 10:00am until 2:00pm).  Further still, in the latitudes farthest from the equator, the intensity of sunlight is almost never adequate to produce any Vitamin D3 at all. 

An individual’s skin tone plays a factor in UVB absorption, as well.  The darker your skin, the more buffer you have against it, so regardless of where a person lives, someone with very dark skin will require significantly more sun exposure than some with very light skin.

Recommendation

If you don’t live in a tropical region you’ll need to receive Vitamin D3 from another source for at least part of the year, and we can’t get it naturally from our food.   Thankfully, it’s easy enough to get it from a cheap vitamin pill.  Look for one that says “1,000 I.U. Vitamin D3”.  For about $10, you should be able to get ninety capsules.  If you live outside of the tropics, which is likely the case, I highly recommend that you take a Vitamin D3 supplement during the fall and winter months, and if you’re skin is particularly dark, it’s actually a good idea to take one year-round.  It’s also recommended that women who are pregnant or lactating double there Vitamin D3 intake to 2,000 I.U. daily.

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Real-World Raw Health and Nutrition:
The raw food diet made easy for your busy life!

Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

 

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