Vitamin-D helps your body use calcium and phosphorus. Without it your body cannot process the calcium. If your body cannot process the calcium, it takes what it needs from your bones, which, as we age, makes us more susceptible to osteoporosis.

It is fat soluble - meaning that it, along with Vitamins A & E, are stored by your body - and it is the only vitamin that is manufactured by your body, when it gets direct sun.

How do I get my Vitamin-D?
One good way is exposure to the sun. But you don't need long periods of sun exposure to get what your body needs. Most doctors will tell you 15-20 minutes a day, before the time when the suns rays are at their hottest (usually between 10am to 4pm) is enough to get what you need. You know you need sunscreen to help prevent skin cancer, but will sunscreen prevent you from getting enough of this vitamin?

Even though sunscreen helps to protect you from UV radiation, it cannot block all of it. Therefore, depending on the amount of time you spend outdoors, and the time of the day, the amount of sun that does hit the skin is usually enough to promote an adequate amount. Another way to get this vitamin is from food sources and supplements.

Good food sources would be cod liver oil, fatty fish - like sardines, tuna or salmon, eggs and of course milk that is fortified in 'D'. Usually your diet alone does not provide enough - because people usually do not eat enough of the foods that provide this vitamin. So, if you do want to avoid the sun, take a supplement, drink an 8 oz. glass of milk fortified in Vitamin-D, and eat a lot of tuna, salmon and eggs daily.

What else is Vitamin-D good for?
According to the Arthritis Foundation, 'D' has been beneficial in slowing down the onset of osteoarthritis. This is the gradual deterioration of the cartilage in the joints. This is the most common form of arthritis and can be very painful. Further research is underway to determine the benefits this vitamin would have on high blood pressure, cancer of the colon and breasts, as well as with diabetes.

So how much is safe?
It has been reported that the Recommended Dietary Allowance is:

Birth to 50 years = 200 I.U. (internal units)

50 years and older = 400 I.U.

The Food and Nutritional Board of the Institute of Medicine states that a tolerable upper intake level (UL) could be:

Infants 0-12 months = 1,000 I.U.

Children and adults = 2,000 I.U.

Most Vitamin-D supplements contain doses of 400 I.U. to 800 I.U. There has been some controversy about how much of this vitamin on a daily basis is actually safe for you and in actuality levels up to 10,000 I.U. are safe. Our ancestors were exposed to long periods of sun on a daily basis, and it is estimated they were exposed to as much as 10,000 I.U. a day.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared UV radiation to be a known carcinogen, so exposing oneself to the sun, for long periods of time, for the sake of getting this vitamin may not the answer.

However, I believe in getting out in the sun. It's a good source of this vitamin, plus it lifts your mood and makes you feel better! But, I also recommend using sunscreen to protect yourself from skin cancer. Using the right sunscreen will get those legs of yours tan, plus provide the right protection.

Be smart when you tan!

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