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How Much Vitamin D Do I need A Day? [Web Exclusive Content]

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How Much Vitamin D Do I need A Day?

Vitamin D plays a major factor in the body's ability to absorb calcium - an essential element for strong teeth and bones. (That's why you may have noticed milk is often fortified with vitamin D.) Vitamin D also helps support your body's immune system, regulates blood pressure, protects it against various forms of cancer and provides numerous other health benefits.

Until recently, the vitamin has been largely overlooked because people's bodies were able to a manufacture all of the Vitamin D they needed through sun exposure. However, now, as skin cancer becomes an increasingly prevalent threat, and people wear long sleeves, hats and sunscreen in the sun, we are seeing an increase in vitamin D deficiencies. Another contributing factor could be the indoor workforce. More and more jobs require people to remain inside until the sun goes down.

Luckily, all you need is about 10-15 minutes of sun exposure on your bare arms and legs a few times a week to get the vitamin D you need. Your body makes vitamin D from the sun faster and more effectively than it soaks it up from food and supplements. The recommended daily dosage is 400 IU of vitamin D. However, your doctor may recommend more vitamin D if you are elderly, obese or if a deficiency state is determined from a blood test measuring vitamin D levels. Ask your doctor to check your 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels and make changes in your lifestyle if levels are low.

For information contact sports and lifestyle nutritionist Julie Fortenberry, LDN, RD, at 504.457.3100 at The Fitness Principle with Mackie Shilstone at East Jefferson General Hospital, or go to www.ejgh.org/thefitnessprinciple.

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