For years now, we’ve been told how important sunscreen is. Particularly if you have diabetes, protecting your skin is vital. However, for those of us who have been listening and also spend the majority of our days indoors at work, getting enough vitamin D can be an obstacle.
Why is this a problem? Well in addition to regulating the body’s absorption of calcium and phosphorous, it also supports the immune system and is crucial in the development of teeth and bones. Further, studies suggest that it could offer protection against a handful of diseases, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, and diabetes. Researchers link insulin resistance and low levels of vitamin D, suggesting that vitamin D could play a role in preventing Type 2. Other studies reveal low levels of vitamin D could also increase the risk of a person developing Type 1.
There are a few telltale signs that you might be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, and while simple blood tests can render a diagnosis, there are symptoms to look for. Symptoms include:
- Consistent feelings of tiredness
- Frequent bone or muscle aches and pains
- Developing a waddling gait
- Weakness in bones and muscles
- Feeling low
- Proneness to stress fractures (especially in the legs, hips and pelvis)
So, how do we get enough vitamin D and continue to protect our skin? For starters, a little bit of unprotected sun exposure goes a long way. Researchers suggest between 5-30 minutes of sun twice a week is enough (depending upon where you live). Don’t forget that vitamin D production does not occur through windows, so you’ll have to be outside to produce it. Consult your doctor to find out how much sun exposure is best for you.
However, if you’re like me and try to avoid the sun without slathering your body with sunscreen, there are other ways to get vitamin D. There are plenty of over-the-counter supplements available– just make sure you speak to your doctor before adding a supplement to your daily routine. There are also foods that contain this helpful vitamin.
The following list includes some excellent sources of vitamin D. Continue reading to learn more!
L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.