The Caveman’s Essential Nutrients #4: Vitamin D

Time to learn about one of the most overlooked Vitamins that your body absolutely needs – Vitamin D. Back in the 1920s, people resorted to taking cod liver oil in order to get their daily dose of D, but these days milk is fortified with this essential nutrient! Originally, Vitamin D was used mostly to prevent rickets (that results in bow legs), but these days we know a lot more about how great Vitamin D is for your body and all of the benefits you get from meeting your daily requirements.

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, both of which are important in bone and tooth growth. Not only does Vitamin D help you absorb the minerals, Vitamin D but it also helps your body regulate their use more effectively. Basically, Vitamin D helps to tell your body whether to deposit these minerals into your bones and know when your bones are oversaturated with these minerals. This can be very important with treating osteoporosis and help you retain more calcium.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to such maladies like breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, and weight gain. Studies show that people with higher levels of Vitamin D are at a much lower risk for these diseases.

The Vitamin D Council also suggests that Vitamin D treatment might also be helpful in treating and preventing autism, cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Vitamin D also helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system. It also plays major roles in the life cycle of human cells.

So how exactly do you get Vitamin D into your system? As previously mentioned, milk is perhaps the most common food source for Vitamin D, but you can also find it in the flesh of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel). Small amounts of Vitamin D are also found in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks.

Your body can actually produce Vitamin D if your skin is exposed to a sufficient amount of sunlight. This can be a problem for people in northern climates. In the U.S., only people who live south of a line drawn from Los Angeles to Columbia, S.C. get enough sunlight for Vitamin D production throughout the year. Dark skin absorbs less sunlight, so people with dark skin do not get as much Vitamin D from sun exposure as do light-skinned people. In order to get enough sunlight to promote Vitamin D growth, on average you have to be exposed to approximately 30 minutes of sunlight per day. The benefits of Vitamin D exposure are undeniable. If nothing else, some time spent in the sunshine will give you a great glow!

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