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D-Fence--A Look at How Vitamin D Can Help Our Health

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Vitamin D has long been recognized as vital to bone health because our bodies need the vitamin to absorb calcium. Research has recently suggested that it may also be essential for a wide range of conditions including prevention of colon cancer, diabetes, fatigue, muscle weakness, breast cancer, fibromyalgia, and generalized weakness as we age. Studies have also shown that with age our skin becomes less productive at allowing sunlight to produce vitamin D, thus making a deficiency more pronounced, putting us at risk for fatigue, weakness, and even cancer.

A study published in Archives in Internal Medicine with data from more than 10,500 women over a 10-year period found that women who had a consistent intake of vitamin D and calcium showed a 30 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer.

One of the most interesting functions of vitamin D is its ability to down-regulate hyperproliferative (abnormal) cell growth. Cancer cells that have a vitamin D receptor often respond to Vitamin D, by decreasing their growth, thus reducing the chance of cancer growth.

So what can vitamin D do for you?
• Help prevent a growing list of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart
disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, breast cancer, colon cancer, and ovarian cancer
• Help keep your bones and teeth strong and healthy
. Regulate the growth and activity of your cells
• Reduce inflammation and help with chronic pain
• Promote energy and strength

How can we get more vitamin D?
• Salmon, sardines, shrimp, milk, cod, cheese and eggs (sockeye salmon contains the highest levels)
• Exposure to sunlight supplies the majority of vitamin D our bodies require. Aim for 20 minutes, three times weekly, in the early morning.
• A supplement containing vitamin D3 is crucial. D3 (cholecalciferol) is from fish oil and also found in eggs, organ meats, animal fat, cod liver oil and fish. It is equivalent to the vitamin D formed on our skins from UV-B sunlight. The dose for younger and older adults is 1,000 IU daily

Testing for vitamin D levels

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.