“What we put in our body is more important than what we put on it. Rich clothes won’t cover up poor health.” -Flashionista
It promises to be the most talked about supplement of the decade. As new studies continue to refine optimal levels and recommended amounts, they also show that almost EVERYONE is deficient in Vitamin D3.
The best source of D3 is the sun and most of us don’t’ get enough. The maximum suggested is from 5 to 30 minutes twice a week on face, arms, back or legs, without sunscreen. Individual needs vary depending on where you live and the time of year.
It’s hard to get enough Vitamin D3 from diet alone because it isn’t found naturally in many foods. The best sources are salmon, sardines, shrimp, cod liver oil, with much smaller amounts found in eggs. In the United States, it’s routinely added to milk, cereals, and fruit juices.
New studies link low levels of Vitamin D3 to cognitive decline. In addition, its importance to bone health is especially critical to women after menopause when we lose bone mass and are at risk for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. It also has a powerful effect on the immune system, research has shown that Vitamin D3 provides protection from the flu viruses, including the swine flu.
If your doctor hasn’t offered to test your levels, you should request it. The test is relatively inexpensive in case it isn’t covered by your insurer. There is also an in-home “blood spot” test that you mail to the lab.
Most women over 50 need a daily supplement of 1000 to 2000 units. But self-diagnosis isn’t advisable. It’s best to have your doctor involved. Vitamin D requirements are highly individual, and your needs are dependent on numerous factors. Skin color, amount of regular sun exposure, and other vitamin deficiencies affect absorption of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D3 is easy to take in a pure olive oil base. One drop provides 1000 IU. The drops are often easier to absorb than capsule or pill forms.