What is Vitamin D?
A Fat-soluble Vitamin that is essentially needed by the body and a hormone that body makes. The science books had taught us well about the importance of this Vitamin. Its essential for building bones and it helps absorb calcium (also phosphate) in the body.
This means if we lack in Vitamin D, the calcium absorption is affected. So, if you are popping the calcium pills and are deficient in Vitamin D, beware as that means calcium is not getting absorbed rather its being piled up in your body!
Recent studies have shown that Vitamin D is not just a bone health indicator but a lot more than that.
It helps in controlling infections, improving heart health and reducing cancer cell growth.
Vitamin D is essential for all ages including kids and elders. Its deficiency is a major concern as it causes rickets in kids and osteoporosis in elders. As we grow old, naturally the bone density thins and the absorption of Vitamin D becomes a tough task.
The line that draws the gap of mid-age and elder has shrunken over years when it comes to diseases. There are several cases of Arthritis, heart and kidney diseases happening in age groups of 30-40 yrs.
It can be attributed surely to the change of life style and eating habits. The overall global environmental changes also affect that.
I believe we shall focus on the factors that are controllable and leave the other ones.
Vitamin D Veg Food Sources
A vegetarian like me would have done an exhaustive search on google to find solution to this query.
Honestly, there are few veg sources only! That’s not to disappoint you for sure.
I transited to Vegetarian diet more than 2 decades back and I would say I have no regrets about it!
The list of the food items with Vitamin D :
- Milk fortified with Vit-D
- Fortified Cereals
- Fortified juices
Wondering why Mushrooms ?
Mushrooms are neither plant or animal food rather a fungi. Low in calories and high in several nutrients and fibre, these less popular food can become a good source of Vitamin D.
I know the mushrooms are grown in dark and moist areas and I would share with you what I do when I have to make mushrooms.
Wash them thoroughly and keep them to dry in morning sunlight. It can be around 3 hours. From the direct exposure to UV rays, mushroom are able to get Vitamin D stock.
Thats what we wish !
Cook them in your style and enjoy!
Further reading on this can be found here .
Sunlight and Vitamin D
Sunlight and Vitamin D are connected positively. If we can rely upon one good source to obtain Vitamin D, its surely our greatest star: Sun.
Next time you set out for a vacation at beach, do forget your sunscreen!
You need to have that tan to get the Vitamin D from the sun.
UV rays from sun when come directly over uncovered human skin perform a chemical reaction that helps the body to generate the Vitamin D.
Any Sunscreen applied over skin won’t let the UV rays penetrate through the skin and hence reduce the Vitamin D absorption from sun.
People who have dark skin (hence high in melanin pigment) also take longer to absorb the Vitamin D from sun as compared to people who have fair skins.
The location does matter as the UV rays intensity reduces above equator zones. Then people of countries like Canada, South Africa, etc can’t make enough Vitamin D in several months of years.
The best in this situation is Vitamin D has a capability to get stock up in the body. That means, a longer exposure to sun wont mean that we will have an overflow of Vitamin D. Body would absorb as much it really needs to and stores i well.
So just like ants, we can keep the inventory in summers and relax for the winters.
About skin cancer threatening news that had washed your brain about sun exposure being harmful..
Being an Indian, I have been naturally exposed to sun all through out the year. For those who are less blessed work in peak summers at peak sun for several several hours.
Do you really want to believe that a huge population of them had cancer or are likely to have it?
Having said so, anything in excess is harmful. So is water, so is sun.
Best Time to have Vitamin D from sun
The broad time to get soaked up in sun for getting your Vitamin D naturally is Indian time 10 am to 2 pm (best in summers) . 15- 30 minutes is general estimated time for the absorption. A gentle reminder to uncover yourself for absorbing Vitamin D. No Sunscreens on face, forearms and lower legs!
Do I need Vitamin D supplements?
Simply talk to your doctor about it. Not me ofcourse.
I am no doctor to suggest that. It all varies from body to body and how much you had absorbed the sun over years. So I cant suggest you the minimum levels as I am not the right person.
Personally, Yes I had taken when advised by doctor specially post-partum as kids empty your vitamin and calcium stocks anyway! This is when I am sun lover and even in summers, I surely stand in sun for 10 min.
Pills are advised to be taken in morning with whole meal as the vitamin is fat soluble. Point to be taken care is that over use of the pills can make it toxic as compared to sun. As told earlier, natural absorption is done as much is required by the body, which is not the case with pills as we dont know what are the real levels of the vitamin in body.
How would you know you are Vit-D deficient ?
- Muscle Weakness
- Bone Pain/ Back Pain
- Loss of Appetite
- Mood Swings
- Gut health is down.
If you have not soaked up sun from past one year and simply relying on pills, I must say just grab a chair in sun and sit for half an hour. Take the reading book along! Remember to do that daily!
Can Vitamin D help protect against Covid?
I am so overwhelmed to answer it since Covid has changed the course of our lives rapidly. Apart from Immunity-product makers, who else is gaining from this disease ?
Latest Studies are showing few results that people who had Covid positive were found to be Vitamin D deficient.
Isnt it true for more than half of the population?
Are we not deficient in some or the other Vitamins?
The results are yet not conclusive about the fact that Vitamin D deficient people are more likely to contract the disease.
Is it that any pharmaceutical company is targeting this study to enhance the sales? Dont fall for it blindly!
A word of suggestion:
Everything in excess is harmful. Follow the moderation rule.
Vitamin D is really essential for the body. So, if you feel you are deficient, get in touch with the doctor and remember to soak sun!
Stay Safe at Home! Stay Healthy!
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